Ralph Northam won a convincing victory over Republican Ed Gillespie in last month's Virginia gubernatorial election. Surely, he feels some sort of mandate to enforce his agenda. As such, some Democrats are scratching their heads over Northam's decision to compromise on Medicaid.
Northam is not going to pressure Republicans in the state legislature, who hold a slim majority, to expand Medicaid, according to new reporting from The Washington Post.
Northam said he has no plans to try to force Republicans to accept a broad expansion of Medicaid. Instead, he has begun talks with lawmakers in both parties about overhauling the state’s Medicaid system to expand access to health care while better defining eligibility to control costs.
So, is he letting that landslide go to waste - "holding back," as the WaPo put it? It is "quite the message" to send to his base that gave him such a big win, according to some.
What a start: Northam says he won't pressure Virginia's shrunken GOP to expand Medicaid. He's concerned about "obligating the state to escalate costs" & wants to "better define eligibility." https://t.co/EO7kNCYza9 pic.twitter.com/ZRsn8BWyqt— Taniel (@Taniel) December 17, 2017
Progressives aren't too keen on this sudden bipartisan offering from the governor. Very quickly, they found some flashbacks of Northam pledging to expand Medicaid, often suggesting it was a no-brainer.
To make things even more awkward, a relevant op-ed Northam wrote in April has resurfaced. It is entitled, "Do the right thing; expand Medicaid."
Northam, still using bipartisan language, insisted on Twitter that he is not abandoning his base.
I have and will continue to advocate for Medicaid expansion because it is a no-brainer for Virginia families, our budget, and our economy. We can also come together on smart policy choices that will allow us to deliver better care at lower cost.— Ralph Northam (@RalphNortham) December 17, 2017