A political wave is coming.
I can’t tell you if all the stars will align and there will be a shift in the control of Congress any more than I can tell you who will win the World Series this fall — I can make an educated guess at the former and ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ at the latter — but I have a very good idea what will be the cause of this year’s political tsunami for change.
The issue has defined every election cycle since 2008, and no other issue hits closer to home for American families, affecting both our well-being and our pocket books.
What has changed since the election of President Trump is where you’ll find the energy and passion on this issue. For years, vocal opponents of the Affordable Care Act were the ones fired up. Now — after several close votes that would have taken health care away from tens of millions of Americans — the pendulum has swung once again.
Last year, voters sent a very clear message to anyone paying attention: 1) they want common-sense health care solutions adopted and 2) they are tired of politicians placing politics and ideology above their health care needs.
In the nation’s only statewide elections in 2017, Maine voters overwhelmingly passed a ballot measure to expand Medicaid, and voters in Virginia sent a wave of new lawmakers to Richmond promising to expand health care coverage. Voters in New Jersey made that same call in electing Chris Murphy governor. On Wednesday, the Virginia legislature fulfilled that promise, voting to expand Medicaid to 400,000 people who earn less than $17,000 year and families of three earning less than $29,000. And that same day, NJ’s Governor signed a bill to reinstate the Obamacare individual mandate in an attempt to stabilize the insurance markets.
Some partisans will undoubtedly argue the votes in Maine and Virginia aren’t the start of a trend that will continue in this year’s elections. They would be wrong. In fact, it’s voters in red states that are now leading the push for more healthcare in this country, thanks to support by energized volunteers who have been going door-to-door to build support for the initiatives.
Take a moment to let that sink in. In Idaho alone, two out of every three voters favor Medicaid expansion, including a majority of Republicans, Independents and Democrats.
So what’s happening?
First, it turns out that Americans really don’t like “solutions” that take away health care from their fellow citizens. Second, voters from across the political spectrum support common-sense measures like expanding Medicaid, which explains why 17 states with Republican governors and 33 states overall have already adopted it.
Medicaid expansion keeps millions of hard-working Americans from slipping through the cracks in our health care system. These Americans earn too much to qualify for Medicaid in their states and too little to be able to afford coverage on the health insurance exchange. Without expanded Medicaid, they would lose their health care.
It also has delivered real health care improvements to residents in expansion states, including:
✔️More opioid treatment (substance abuse treatment rose by 43 percent)
✔️Faster cancer detection (early stage cancer diagnoses rose by 6 percent)
Expanding Medicaid also brings home hundreds of millions of tax dollars from Washington, D.C. to help solve the problem where it is needed most — at the state level. These funds already are boosting the economies and creating jobs in expansion states.
The views of politicians who want to stand in the way of these common-sense health care solutions will be put to the test in Utah, Idaho, Nebraska, Montana and in candidate elections across the country this year. If recent history, polling and momentum tell us anything, though, then voters are poised to deliver health care to hundreds of thousands of people for the first time in a decade, and that’s something that can energize all of us as we march toward November.
A health care wave is coming.