Zero states want House GOP health bill

That is the conclusion of the New York Times in an Upshot article this week. The piece uses a combination of polling to arrive at the conclusion.

Of specific interest is the finding regarding 15 of the 19 most-Republican states. The 15 include South Dakota and each of the 15 has two Republican senators.

Just as the passage of Obamacare handed the U.S. Senate’s majority to the Republicans in the 2010 elections, the House-passed repeal of Obamacare could hand the Senate’s majority back to the Democrats. It depends most on the match-ups in each state, and the voters’ perceptions in each state of the specific match-up.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved big changes in the health-care legislation that most of its Republicans passed this spring. The Senate Republicans quickly took their deliberations behind closed doors. One reason might be the Senate Republicans’ sensitivity to their party colleagues in the House. A Republican senator doesn’t need to be publicly pitted against Republican representatives.

The spread in South Dakota, according to the estimate by the Times, is 15 points: 48 percent of South Dakotans oppose the House Republicans’ measure, while 33 percent support it.

The aye cast by U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem might not affect her in the Republican primary contest for the nomination for governor against state Attorney General Marty Jackley and possibly other Republican candidates. We won’t know until the votes are counted after election polls close on the evening of June 5, 2018. She is South Dakota’s only member in the U.S. House.

Her vote could have some effect in the November 2018 general election. The state Senate’s Democratic leader, Billie Sutton of Burke, recently declared his candidacy for governor next year. But that election is 17 months away.

The U.S. Senate could (and probably will) pass a less-offensive version of the health-insurance law, perhaps later this year. That would put the Senate and the House on a path to negotiating the differences. The House and Senate roll calls that follow those negotiations likely would focus those voters who care most about this matter. That aye or nay will count.

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About Bob Mercer

I am a newspaper reporter in Pierre where I cover state government, issues and politics for the Aberdeen American News, the Black Hills Pioneer, the Mitchell Daily Republic, the Pierre Capital Journal, the Rapid City Journal, the Watertown Public Opinion and the Yankton Press & Dakotan. I began covering the Legislature in 1985 and have lived in Pierre since December 1986. I grew up in Wisconsin, worked my way through college, took my first full-time newspapers jobs in Wyoming, and have lived in South Dakota since the summer of 1984 when I moved to Aberdeen to join the American News. I worked for the Rapid City Journal as its state government reporter in Pierre from late 1992 through late 1998. I spent four years as press secretary and a senior aide to Gov. Bill Janklow during his fourth and final term from late 1998 through 2002. I returned to journalism in January 2003 as a self-employed reporter, providing state government coverage to the Mitchell, Watertown, Spearfish, Pierre and, depending on the year, Aberdeen newspapers. In 2008, the Aberdeen American News offered to hire me as full-time member of the AAN staff, with my reports continuing to be available to the Mitchell, Watertown, Spearfish, Pierre, Yankton and Rapid City papers. The new arrangement has been in effect since January 2009 as the seven papers continue their remarkable dedication to their readers and the general public, as the only South Dakota news outlets with a full-time reporter covering state government in Pierre throughout the year. In addition to focusing on the Legislature during the annual winter session and its various activities during the interim periods between sessions, I spend many days throughout the year -- traveling as often necessary -- to cover state government boards and commissions which oversee the state universities, technical institutes, outdoors, water, environment, business, public schools, banking, agriculture, utilities, health care and various other areas of public interest. I purposely don't register to vote because of my profession; the last time I recall voting in a presidential election was the first time, 1976, when I had just turned 18. I think I voted for Jimmy Carter over Gerald Ford. Make of that what you want, just don't make much of it.

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