A recent study of voter participation shows higher voter turnout in states that have expanded Medicaid under the
American Affordable Care Act (ACA / Obamacare). For people with low income, Medicaid is the largest source of funding for medical and health-related services.
The study, Expanding Medicaid, expanding the electorate: the Affordable Care Act’s short-term impact on political participation, compared voter turnout data from 2014 and 2012 for 435 U.S. House races. Controlling for local factors, its author found: […] that increases in Medicaid enrollment as a result of Medicaid expansion were related to considerably higher voter turnout in 2014.
Past research has shown people that receive public assistance are less likely to vote, so these results are significant. According to study author Jake Haselswerdt, assistant professor of political science and public affairs at the University of Missouri: “Having access to health insurance could play a role in increasing voter participation as healthy people are much more likely to vote than unhealthy people, and insurance increases people’s financial stability, which also makes them more likely to vote.” Backlash to expanded enrollment, he notes, may also affect voter turnout.
[Updated Ed.]Although Donald
Trump made campaign promises not to cut Medicaid benefits, [Trump has ] endorsed two changes to the bill affecting Medicaid, under the pending GOP plan. The actions taken by GOP legislators in Congress make plain how they feel about Medicaid. Republican-sponsored ACA repeal legislation (Trumpcare) now in Congressional committees would hand Medicaid back to the states, and cut program funds by $880 billion in the next 10 years — effectively limiting expansion. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that under the GOP bill 14 million fewer people would have Medicaid coverage in 2026.
Whether by design or accident, the GOP’s efforts to slash Medicaid may not only hurt the health of lower income U.S. citizens, but they also seem to fit in nicely with the Republicans’ long running campaigns to suppress voter participation — also known as “voter fraud prevention legislation.”
Well, that works: “American Health Care” that isn’t affordable, and laws to counteract non-existent “voter fraud.” Paging George Orwell …