These Red States Voted To Increase Minimum Wage and Expand Medicaid

Medicaid protest
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

In an election irony, right-leaning states just approved ballot measures of policies championed by Democrats. Three states, Nebraska, Idaho, and Utah all voted to expand Medicaid under an Affordable Care Act measure. That’s right, three Republican states just approved Obamacare measures by popular vote.

According to reporting by Vox, with former President Barack Obama out of office, the Medicaid expansion doesn’t have the same association with the former president as it once did. So the three states that voted for the anti-Obamacare candidate, President Donald Trump, in 2016 passed state measures

The Democratic candidates that supported the measures, however, lost their races on Tuesday. Paulette Jordan threw her support behind Prop 2 in Idaho as the Democratic gubernatorial candidate. But she lost on Tuesday by over 100,000 votes.

But expanding government healthcare is becoming more valued by Republicans. In a poll from Reuters conducted in August, 53 percent of Republicans supported Medicare for All.

Red states also passed a raise to the minimum wage. Self-described Democratic-socialist politicians such as Sen. Bernie Sanders championed a policy of a living wage of $15 an hour. Missouri and Arkansas just gave themselves a raise and increased their minimum wage to double-digits for the first time.

According to CBS News, Missouri will raise their minimum wage from $7.85 an hour to $12 an hour by 2023. Arkansas’ increase is lower but will be implemented sooner, they’re shifting from $8.50 an hour to $11 an hour by 2021.

Both states overwhelmingly voted for Trump in the 2016 presidential election. In the midterm this week, Missouri flipped a Senate seat red and Arkansas easily re-elected a Republican governor.

However, the Democrat Missourians voted out on Tuesday supported a minimum wage increase. Sen. Claire McCaskill backed Missouri Prop B, which raised the minimum wage.

Only seven states and the District of Columbia offer a minimum wage over $10.50 an hour. But another red state could be next. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards tweeted Wednesday, “2 conservative-leaning states approved a minimum wage increase last night – AR & MO. AR will increase the minimum wage to $11/hour and MO will increase to $12/hour over the next 5 years. It’s time for a modest increase in LA!” Louisiana also expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in 2016.

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