The ObamaCare Fight's New Front: States

GOP state senators in Virginia say anti-ACA groups are trying to intimidate them

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 19, 2013 3:55 PM CDT

(Newser) – The whole federal government shutdown thing didn't work out so well for anti-ObamaCare activists, so expect the next war to be waged at a state level, predicts the New York Times. In Virginia, the Republican state senator heading a commission to decide whether to expand Medicaid says he's feeling the pressure. The Koch Brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity have been door-knocking and leafleting the area in what Emmett Hanger calls "an attempt to intimidate me." Another Republican senator on the commission says Americans for Prosperity have also been mailing his constituents.

"They related Medicaid expansion to defeating Obamacare, and they ignore the fact that the Affordable Care Act is the law," says John Watkins. "I think their tactics are very deceptive." The group bussed in hundreds of volunteers to Richmond last week to attend a commission hearing, reports the Times. They wore green "Economic Freedom in Action!" t-shirts, while those supporting the expansion countered in blue "Everyone Needs Coverage" shirts. Of the 125 people who testified at the six-hour hearing, twice as many were in favor of Medicaid expansion. Still, Hanger says, he doesn't like "outside groups" trying to interfere in local politics.

State Sen. Emmett Hanger.
State Sen. Emmett Hanger.   (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Maria Webster joins others protesting Texas Gov. Rick Perry's stance on health care outside the state capitol in Austin, Texas.
Maria Webster joins others protesting Texas Gov. Rick Perry's stance on health care outside the state capitol in Austin, Texas.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
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