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2018 midterm elections: Medicaid expansion vote, Florida, Georgia results



andrew gillum barack obama
Gillum, the Democratic candidate for governor in Florida, could
expand Medicaid using Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act for over
a million poor Floridians.

Raedle/Getty Images

  • The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, allows states to
    expand the Medicaid healthcare program to people making up to
    138% of the federal poverty limit.
  • Three states have questions on the ballot in Tuesday’s
    midterm elections that would expand Medicaid: Idaho, Nebraska,
    and Utah.
  • Six other states — Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Maine, South
    Dakota, and Wisconsin — have Democratic candidates for governor
    on the ballot that would expand Medicaid access.
  • According to healthcare consulting firm Avalere, up to 2.7
    million people could gain access to coverage on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s midterm elections not only will determine the control
of Congress and dozens of governors’ mansions across the US. It
could decide access to healthcare for millions of low-income

The Affordable Care Act’s
Medicaid expansion
, which allows low income Americans making
up to 138% of the federal poverty limit to get access to the
program, will be on the ballot in three states. And six other
states that have not expanded the program have pro-expansion
governor candidates on the ballot, as well.

According to Avalere Health, a healthcare consulting firm, up to
2.7 million Americans could gain access to healthcare if the
results break a certain way. In three states — Idaho, Nebraska,
and Utah — Medicaid expansion is directly on the ballot, while
six other states that have not expanded Medicaid have Democratic,
pro-expansion governor candidates in competitive races.

“In states with competitive gubernatorial races, many
candidates are making Medicaid expansion a key
Elizabeth Carpenter, senior
vice president at Avalere,
 of the possible expansions. “Depending on the
election results, we could see Medicaid expansion on the agenda
again in states across the country.”

Screen Shot 2018 11 06 at 11.12.16 AMAvalere Health

Here’s a breakdown of how many people could gain access to
healthcare in each state if the pro-expansion result comes

  • Florida (governor race): 1,343,612
  • Georgia (governor race): 690,162
  • Kansas (governor race): 136,423
  • Maine (governor race): 48,382
  • South Dakota (governor race): 45,293
  • Wisconsin (governor race): 140,774
  • Idaho (ballot question): 92,439
  • Nebraska (ballot question: 97,937
  • Utah (ballot question): 134,756

Medicaid expansion has become more popular over the years, even
in deep red states, making it a strong issue for many Democratic
A February poll
 by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a
nonpartisan health policy think tank, found that 56% of
people in non-expansion states wanted to expand Medicaid, while
just 37% were against it.

poll in October
from Kaiser found that 49% of people said
they were more likely to vote for a candidate if they supported
expansion, while just 28% said it made them less likely to vote
for a candidate.

Andrew Gillum in Florida
Stacey Abrams in Georgia
, and
Billie Sutton in South Dakota
 have all used their
support for Medicaid expansion as key planks in their campaigns.

Read more:
The 2018 midterms will have a big impact on healthcare, from
Medicaid to nurses to abortion

This isn’t to say that the program would be expanded immediately
if results go a certain way: State legislatures could stymie the
expansion, as
Virginia’s legislature did for years
despite the state’s
Democratic governor’s wishes. Maine also voted to expand the
program in 2017, but departing Gov. Paul LePage refused to expand
the program.

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