In election glow, Dems see health care as a winning issue

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In election glow, Dems see health care as a winning issue

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In this Feb. 21, 2017, file photo, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., speaks at a news conference in Seattle. Emboldened by election wins, Democrats are starting to see health care as an issue that gives them a political edge, particularly widening access to Medicaid for low-income people. “I think health care is a driving motivator for Democrats to elect people who will not take it away,” said Murray, ranking Democrat on the Senate health committee. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

Democrats are starting to see a political edge in health care — particularly the idea of widening Medicaid access for more low-income people — after big election victories Tuesday night.

In Virginia, Democrat Ralph Northam promised a vigorous push as governor to expand Medicaid. Voters who said health care was important went decisively for Northam.

In Maine, voters defied Republican Gov. Paul LePage's determined opposition by passing a referendum to expand Medicaid to cover an estimated 70,000 more residents.

During Barack Obama's presidency, health care was often seen as a political liability for Democrats. But public opinion seems to have shifted amid widespread opposition to Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obama's Affordable Care Act.

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