Obama’s Dog Whistles


Obama’s campaign and administration emphasize different parts of Obamacare to different audiences depending on their racial makeup, according to a report in Politico:

President Barack Obama tends to skim lightly over the details of his health care law in speeches.

But his administration has a far more specific pitch to black and Hispanic audiences.

The message: Blacks and Hispanics, among whom uninsured rates are significantly higher than among whites, stand to benefit disproportionately under the health law, gaining access to free preventive care and other services that will help reduce existing health care disparities. The sustained outreach from the White House aims to make voters eligible for new benefits aware of them and how to get them.

Obama senior adviser Jarrett also told the audience that Southern Republicans were fighting tooth and nail against the reform, a move some consider a dog whistle to liberal activists that harkens back to southern governors who opposed integration, including Democratic Alabama Gov. George Wallace.

“You may have been hearing recently that some of the Republican governors, particularly the Southern Republican governors, are talking about not expanding Medicare, which the Affordable Care Act provides for them to do,” she said, apparently referring to Medicaid.

Opposition to Medicaid expansion, however, spans party and state lines.

The Supreme Court gave governors the choice of expanding Medicaid under Obamacare. Though the federal government would bolster reimbursement rates through the first years of implementation, states would be on the hook for the skyrocketing costs after an initial grace period, a prospect that has given many leaders pause in light of already overwhelming state budget deficits. Seven Democratic governors have not committed to expanding Medicaid, while 29 GOP governors from across the country remain doubtful about expansion.