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March 24, 2014 3:34 PM How Can Scott Brown Be “Undecided” on Medicaid Expansion?

By Ed Kilgore

Greg Sargent wonders today how long Scott Brown can go without taking a position on New Hampshire’s proposed Medicaid expaqnsion, which happens to be a very hot issue in that state’s legislature right now.

It’s a good question, but I have a more basic question: how on earth can this man—or any other Republican running for the U.S. Senate from sea to shining sea—not have a position on the Obamacare Medicaid expansion before they announce?

“It’s a state decision” is not an answer, BTW. If you unconditionally oppose the Affordable Care Act—a position that has defined Scott Brown’s brief political career—you unconditionally oppose the state option to expand Medicaid. That’s particularly true if you favor the Ryan Budget’s Medicaid block grant (which you have to assume Brown does, since his 2011 flip-flop on said budget was based entirely on his alleged opposition to its Medicare voucher provisions, not anything else), which is wildly inconsistent with the idea of expanding Medicaid eligibility with a federal super-match.

Yes, there is an argument for state-level opponents of Obamacare to go along with the Medicaid expansion on purely fiscal grounds (even if it annoys fellow Obamacare opponents who claim it’s a horrific unfunded mandate, not a windfall). But that’s not available to candidates for federal office. So Brown needs either to announce his opposition to the New Hampshire Medicaid expansion or reconsider his position on Obamacare.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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