The Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting that there are rumblings to put the Medicaid expansion on the ballot as a constitutional amendment.

Yes, please! I’ve been overly optimistic about the GOP going ahead with the Medicaid expansion, mainly because this referendum would be a bigger political disaster for them than SB 5.

I’d say “it’ll be a bloodbath”, but that’s wrong. It’ll be a landslide. The bloodbath would be to deny health care to 350,000 Ohioans, leading to hundreds of preventable deaths every year.

The language will be stronger and surer than anything the GOP passes. To satisfy the sadists in their base, the GOP will certainly have to include opt-out clauses and corporate giveaways in anything that passes.

Who will fund the No side? Only the Tea Party. Not the Chamber, not the churches, not the professional associations–they all support Medicaid expansion. If ORP wants to fund it–and tie the Republican brand to the Tea Party going into 2014–they can be my guest.

Any organization can endorse and GOTV a ballot initiative, including the Obamacare navigators who will be canvassing in October. Churches, health care providers, groups that serve clients below 138% of poverty can use this sample script:

Navigator: Hi, I’m your Obamacare navigator. Are you uninsured?

Person: Yes.

Navigator: What’s your income and household size?

Person: There are 5 of us living here, and we bring in about $26,000.

Navigator: Oh. Well, you would qualify for Medicaid, but the Republicans in Columbus didn’t expand it, even though it saved the state a billion dollars. You can vote on it next month, though, and then your family will get health insurance for free.

This isn’t a joke, by the way. This is a 501(c)3-compliant script that every Navigator can use (and I’d strongly argue that it’s their duty to do so).

Please, governor, let me use this script.

There is no “don’t expand Medicaid” crowd that will be added to the base electorate. Off-year elections have low turnout; they’re basically limited to “folks who feel a civic obligation to vote”, which I’ll call habitual voters. When you add a ballot initiative, then you add in the constituencies affected by that initiative. It’s the easiest GOTV there is: “if you want more money in a month, go vote.”

In 2006, minimum wage earners voted to raise the minimum wage. In 2011, union households voted to keep collective bargaining. In 2013, uninsured people will vote to get free health insurance.

The only constituency that’s naturally opposed to these things are spiteful assholes who get off on the suffering of women and minorities. Handily, that group of people got together and called themselves the Tea Party.

The Tea Party is already habitual voters. SB 5 crashed so hard because it didn’t expand the electorate on the right, only on the left. Medicaid is definitely like this, and marriage equality is probably like this.

The pro-Medicaid respondents to Quinnipiac are all Democrats. Here’s a demographic breakout of Medicaid opposition and Kasich support:


And here’s Medicaid support vs. FitzGerald support:



Notice a pattern?

Medicaid opponents are already Kasich voters, whereas Medicaid is 10 points more popular than FitzGerald. The longer Medicaid is in the news, the more FitzGerald can hug Medicaid and pick up that 10% of voters.

And then we’re talking about a 47-46 lead for FitzGerald, 2 days after he announced.

And it’s not even clear that Kasich is politically capable of supporting Medicaid expansion at this point! And yet, he could find himself running for reelection on the wrong side of Medicaid, women, voting rights, gun regulation, marriage equality, and tax policy. He’d better hope, at that point, that the economy is doing great.