North Carolina's Sen. Kay Hagan upended conventional wisdom
with a full-throated defense of Obamacare and of its Medicaid expansion last week. A Democrat running for reelection in a red state, pundits keep on insisting, will run far away from the new law. Well, no. Sen. Mary Landrieu has already debunked that
. Now Sen. Mark Pryor is joining the bandwagon
and will use the issue against his Republican challenger, Tom Cotton, Greg Sargent reports.
One of Senator Pryor’s senior campaign strategists tells me Pryor will not shy away from making the case that the state’s “private option”—its version of the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare—represents Pryor’s brand of good governance, and that Cotton’s repeal stance is extreme and bad for the state. […]
Meanwhile, GOP Senate challenger Cotton will no doubt continue to say he favors repeal of Obamacare, but when pressed, he won’t say where he stands on repealing the private option in particular. This issue is very much alive for conservatives in Arkansas—but the GOP Senate nominee won’t take a clear position on it.
But Pryor’s campaign does not intend to let Cotton get away with ducking the true implications of his repeal stance.
“We won’t shy away from making the case that Congressman Cotton’s position means kicking 150,000 working Arkansas off their private health insurance,” Pryor deputy campaign manager Erik Dorey tells me. Speaking of the private option, Dorey adds: “This is an example of good governance—Republicans and Democrats coming together to pass something that’s good for our state. This is exactly in Mark Pryor’s wheelhouse.”
Pryor's main focus in the campaign attacks on Cotton is on Medicare and Social Security
as well as Cotton's votes against emergency aid (think tornado country) and the farm bill and not Medicaid, but he's willing to take that fight on. He's not running away from the law, and he's doing just what every Democrat should do: turn the question around to why Republicans want to take health care away from their constituents.