We've finally reached the point where a GOP governor facing re-election is in such dire straits that he's doing what was once thought impossible just six months ago: striking a deal to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Greg Sargent:
In another sign that the politics of Obamacare continue to shift, the Medicaid expansion is now all but certain to come to another big state whose Republican governor had previously resisted it: Pennsylvania.
The federal government has approved Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s application for the state’s own version of the Medicaid expansion, without a handful of the conditions Corbett had hoped to impose, Dem sources tell me.
Corbett just announced that he will accept the expansion that has been offered, perhaps with some last-minute changes — expanding coverage and subsidies to as many as half a million people.
This comes after months of jockeying between Corbett and the federal government. Corbett had pushed for a version of the expansion that would have imposed various conditions designed to make it more palatable to conservatives and to achieve political distance from Obamacare — while simultaneously taking all that federal money. Among them: Using the cash to pay for private coverage for the poor.
According to a Dem familiar with the deal, the version the feds signed off on does not give Corbett some of the things he wanted. In various ways, it is not a true “Private Option,” like the one in Arkansas. Corbett previously dropped the work requirement he’d sought, and did not get a weakening of consumer protections in Medicaid or a “lockout” provision that would have nixed coverage to those who miss a premium payment, the Dem confirms.
And Corbett is dying in the polls. He's down by one measure by as much as 25 points right now.
The latest indignity: A new Franklin & Marshall College poll shows Corbett winning the support of just 24 percent of Pennsylvania voters. That's right, an incumbent … at 24 percent. That's just not something you see — like ever.
Now, that actually sounds a little worse than it is. F&M polling routinely has many more undecided voters than most polls (about one-quarter in this poll), which means Corbett is at just 24 percent but only trails by 25 points (only!), 49-24. That's not quite the same as being down 70-24 or something like that.
But that's still 25 points. And as we have written, it's pretty uncommon for a sitting governor to lose reelection, much less get swamped.
Republican governors in states that went for Obama in 2012 are in real trouble across the board (the exceptions being John Kasich in Ohio and Pat McCrory in NC). Corbett in Pennsylvania, Rick Scott in Florida, Paul LePage in Maine, Rick Snyder in Michigan, and Scott Walker in Wisconsin are all in the fights of their political lives. Republican governors in red states are hurting too. Nikki Haley is facing a tough race in South Carolina, and so is Nathan Deal in neighboring Georgia. Even Sam Brownback in Kansas is in trouble.
And all of these governors, with the exceptions of Corbett (and Kasich, who's still trying to split the middle), have come out against Medicaid expansion, costing millions of voters affordable healthcare.
Now even Gov. Bill Haslam of Tennessee wants to expand Medicaid.
In 2014 Republicans are going to talk about repeal, but it'll never happen. And you'll see more and more red states throw in the towel and take the money.