Virginia’s gubernatorial candidate has a novel theory about Obamacare’s unpopularity.
Democrat Ralph Northam wants to be Virginia’s next governor, but he evidently holds the Commonwealth’s voters in low regard. Northam told a group of supporters last April that the people who want Obamacare repealed only oppose the law because “they never accepted who our President was.” What does that mean, exactly? Was he suggesting that Obamacare opponents believe Grover Cleveland is still President? More likely, Northam agrees with the University of Baltimore professor who wrote in Salon that most voters revile the law “because it’s nicknamed after a black guy.” If so, he believes two-thirds of Virginia’s voters are racists.
According to a survey conducted by the Wason Center for Public Policy Survey Research at Christopher Newport University, “Fully two-in-three (67%) of Virginia voters support repealing the Affordable Care Act.” In other words, Northam has surpassed even the notoriously tone deaf Hillary Clinton in the fine art of insulting the customer. Whereas Mrs. Clinton calumniated a mere 25 percent of the nation’s voters when she characterized half of Donald Trump’s supporters as an irredeemable “basket of deplorables,” Northam’s gratuitous and mean-spirited cheap shot at Obamacare opponents questions the moral rectitude of most Virginia voters.
This kind of nastiness is, of course, standard operating procedure for Democratic politicians. And, as Jeffrey Lord pointed out in this space last week, Northam’s politics of racial division are by no means limited to innuendo about Obamacare opponents. It has become abundantly clear, despite Northam’s denials, that his campaign colluded with the allegedly independent Latino Victory Project to air the now infamous “murder truck” ad that even the Washington Post denounced as “vile” and “despicable.” Phil Kerpen provides a copy of the Northam for Governor financial disclosure form reporting the ad as an in-kind campaign contribution.
But Northam isn’t merely a purveyor of racially divisive propaganda, he is an advocate of bad ideas that would hurt Virginians. Among the worst is his desire to expand Medicaid in the Old Dominion so that the program would cover able-bodied adults. Virginia is one of 19 states that chose not to expand Medicaid after the 2012 SCOTUS ruling that Obamacare’s mandatory expansion was unconstitutionally coercive. Virginia’s current governor, Terry McAuliffe, has attempted to expand the program but has been thwarted by the state legislature. Northam tries to explain why it should be expanded in this guest editorial in the Virginian Pilot:
As a doctor, I have seen first-hand how access to health care alleviates poverty and ensures families and children are no longer at risk of financial disaster just because they get sick.… We can now expand Medicaid, which will provide health care for up to 400,000 hardworking Virginians, including tens of thousands of veterans.… My experience gives me a unique perspective on the positive benefits and how we can get this done.
There are some problems with Northam’s “unique perspective.” First, the truly vulnerable patients the Medicaid program was created to help — children, the elderly, and the disabled — are crowded out by expansion of Medicaid to able-bodied adults under Obamacare. How does that happen? A state receives more matching funds (over 90 percent) from the federal government for the new population of Medicaid enrollees signed up pursuant to Obamacare’s expansion than it receives (as low as 50 percent) for traditional enrollees. Consequently, the most vulnerable patients go the back of the bus. As Christopher Jacobs writes in the Federalist:
Medicaid expansion gives states a greater incentive to cover able-bodied adults under expansion than individuals with disabilities previously eligible for Medicaid. And states have done just that: Illinois cut medication funding for special needs-children on the same day it voted to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich cut eligibility for 34,000 individuals with disabilities, even while expanding the Medicaid program to the able-bodied.
One would think that, “as a doctor,” Northam would be concerned about this issue. But there isn’t a syllable about it in his editorial. He writes that Medicaid expansion under Obamacare would benefit “children” and “hardworking Virginians.” In testimony before Congress, however, the Foundation for Government Accountability reveals that 82 percent of adults enrolled in Medicaid under Obamacare have no children, and only 20 percent have full-time jobs. There is one point on which Northam is honest: “To date, we have forfeited $10.4 billion of our tax dollars by forgoing expansion.” This is what this man really cares about.
So, we know that Northam disagrees with the majority of Virginians about repealing the comically titled “Affordable Care Act,” is willing to smear his political opponents as racists, and that his push for Medicaid expansion is about money rather than health care. Where is he on other issues? No surprises here, unfortunately: He wants to “stand up to ICE,” supports driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants, has flip-flopped on sanctuary cities, wants to take down Confederate monuments and hide them in the basement, helped kill a concealed carry bill in the Virginia General Assembly, is against offshore drilling for oil, ad nauseam.
Tomorrow, the voters of Virginia will go to the polls and elect a new governor. The Republican is Ed Gillespie, a Reagan conservative who has the support of President Trump, and the Democrat is the character described above. If I were voting in tomorrow’s election, I’d have trouble getting past what Northam said about the 67 percent of Virginians who oppose Obamacare: “Why is it that people don’t like the Affordable Care Act? I’ll tell you why, they never accepted who our president was.” Should Virginia be led by a man with such contempt for his constituents? Nope. The Old Dominion can do better than Ralph Northam.