In wake of upset election in PA-18, Virginia Republicans should be running scared

Exit polling shows voters rebelled against GOP healthcare obstruction

Richmond, VA—With the votes totaled, Virginia Republicans should be quaking in their boots this week after pro-healthcare candidate Conor Lamb won a solid Trump district.  PPP exit polling shows dissatisfaction with Republicans’ war on health care drove voters to deliver a Democratic victory in a district that Donald Trump won by nearly twenty points in 2016. After November 2017’s wave election in Virginia, healthcare obstructionists at every level of government should be feeling the heat.

“As we approach the 8th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, we’re also closing in on almost 8 years of Virginia Republicans pulling out all the stops to block our families from accessing affordable care when we need it,” said Progress Virginia executive director Anna Scholl. “From repeated attempts to repeal Obamacare from congressmen like Scott Taylor and Dave Brat to state Senators like Glen Sturtevant and Frank Wagner blockading healthcare for 400,000 low-income Virginians, it seems there’s no healthcare access proposal these GOP legislators won’t oppose.

“Access to affordable care was a defining issue in the 2017 elections that saw the House GOP hold on to their majority thanks to a coin flip, and was a deciding factor in Conor Lamb’s upset victory in Pennsylvania this week. More and more Virginia Republicans are seeing the electoral writing on the wall and finding a way to get to yes on healthcare access for our families. It’s past time for GOP members of Congress and state Senators to get on board and get out of the way.”


Exit polling conducted in PA-18 by PPP found healthcare was a top issue for voters and drove voters to back Democratic candidate Conor Lamb. “Health care was ranked as a top issue for 52% of voters (15% saying it was the most important issue and another 37% saying it was very important). Only 19% said it was not that important or not important at all. Conor Lamb won big especially among voters for whom health care was a top priority. Among voters who said health care was the most important issue for them, Lamb beat Rick Saccone 64-36 and among the broader group of voters who said it was either the most important or a very important issue Lamb beat Saccone 62-38.” (PPP, 3/14/18)

In 2017, exit polling found healthcare was the top priority for a plurality of voters and those voters overwhelmingly chose pro-Medicaid expansion candidate Ralph Northam.
“In Virginia, the network exit poll asked respondents which one of five issues mattered most in deciding their vote for governor: 39 percent said health care, far more than any other issue. And health-care focused voters favored Northam by a giant 77 percent to 23 percent margin in preliminary exit polls.” (Washington Post, 11/8/17)

Even Republicans acknowledge the ACA is here to stay and it’s past time to end the political games with people’s health.
“It’s [the Affordable Care Act] here to stay, so Virginia has to make the best of a bad situation,” powerful Virginia Republican Delegate Terry Kilgore told the Associated Press this week. (AP, 3/15/2018)