New gun reform law is biggest Medicaid expansion since Obamacare

But it’s also the fact that Democrats like Stabenow have made it easy. “I didn’t lean at first to emphasize Medicaid,” she said. “I know it’s Medicaid. He knew it was Medicaid. But we just talked about who should fund this…I was trying to get them to see, look, we have this system that works, and everyone loves community health centers.

Victory for mental health care, on its own, is — in the president’s favorite parlance — “a big fucking deal.” But there’s also an important lesson here for Democrats debating political strategy. “It’s interesting to think about, for me. It’s really a case study of doing something big but doing it step by step where you could actually do it,” Stabenow said. “Build support. Build advocacy.

It would be easy to read this as a warning against big, ambitious political goals – a nudge for incremental change. But today’s incrementalism too often involves advocating intermediate measures as if they were the preferred outcome. Rather, Stabenow’s point is less about what goals to pursue and more about how to pursue them. A universal program of federally funded mental health clinics is a big, far-reaching political goal. Achieving it did not mean giving up on the goal itself, but identifying the political water lilies along the way. Instead of doing it all at once or not at all, Stabenow’s ultimate victory forced her to form coalitions to achieve whatever was possible at every moment the opportunity presented itself, moving from a demonstration project to the increased funding in every Covid package, to be ready to drive for full implementation with the bipartisan Safer Communities Act.

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