By Becky Hogan
While congressional Republicans in Washington are still rallying to repeal Obamacare, many Republican governors across the country are singing a different tune when it comes to Medicaid expansion, a key tenet of the Affordable Care Act.
This week Michigan’s GOP-controlled Senate passed Governor Rick Snyder’s Medicaid expansion proposal by two votes. The measure is thought to pass easily in the state House next week, making Michigan the 25th state to choose Medicare expansion.
What’s unique about Snyder’s move is that he’s only the second Republican governor to push such a measure through a Republican-controlled legislature. In June, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer won a major political victory by pushing Medicaid expansion through the Arizona legislature.
News coverage during the week that their respective legislatures passed Medicaid Expansion shows some of the different nuances that the Governors are up against on the issue.
While Snyder got considerable state coverage, he received very little national media attention on the issue. With Snyder facing a tough re-election battle next year, it’s possible that governor is under a lot more scrutiny in the media than Brewer who is term-limited.
The week that Brewer signed the Medicaid expansion in Arizona, she saw more national media coverage on the issue than Snyder. And her state coverage was almost on par with her national coverage. It’s likely that she saw more national coverage on this issue because she’s been a very outspoken proponent against the Obama Administration, even with regard to the healthcare overhaul. She was also the first Republican governor with a GOP-controlled legislature to pass the expansion.
For governors facing tough re-election battles, the move is an appeal to women and in independent voters that could blunt criticism they are ambivalent to the poor by embracing billions in federal dollars to cover millions of residents.
Ohio Governor John Kasich and Florida Governor Rick Scott are also eyeing similar legislation in their states in hopes of winning re-election in their states.
In Michigan, Snyder has argued that receiving an estimated additional $1.4 billion in federal money to bring roughly 500,000 residents under health coverage makes economic sense.
Conservatives in the Michigan’s state legislature argue that the move is unsustainable and will eventually cost the state millions in medical costs.
How do Snyder and Brewer compare on social media as a result of their successful efforts to push this measure?
Comparing the week that Arizona passed the expansion to this week in Michigan when the Senate passed the measure, Brewer and Snyder saw virtually the same gains in Twitter Followers.
However, Brewers gained 500 Facebook Likes after passing the expansion, whereas Snyder has actually lost Facebook Likes this week.
With 590,087 Facebook Likes in total, there’s no question Brewer is reaching a larger audience than Snyder whose Facebook presence is at 44,697 Likes, which could explain why her statuses were shared so many more times the week Arizona passed Medicaid expansion.
But even if you consider that Brewer has 13 times more Facebook Likes than Snyder, her status shares were 67 times more than Snyder’s which could indicate that Snyder’s message on Medicaid expansion is lost among his supporters.
While many think that Michigan voters would be more likely to support Snyder’s re-election based on his call to expand Medicaid, so far, his social media numbers aren’t reflecting a lot of support.
This could affect the governor’s reelection campaign, especially considering he’s been bruised on Obamacare before after repeatedly failing to set set up a state health care exchange in Michigan.
If Snyder wants to win another term as governor, he may want to amp up his messaging on social media channels.