Dems accuse Lincoln GOP senator of masquerading as progressive

By Deena Winter | Nebraska Watchdog

LINCOLN, Neb. – The chairman of the state Democratic Party is calling out a Lincoln senator for campaigning on the premise that “health care is a right” but then voting against expanding Medicaid last week.

PROGRESSIVE? Lincoln Sen. Colby Coash sent this campaign flier out in 2008, but voted against expanding Medicaid last week.

Lincoln Sen. Colby Coash’s campaign committee sent out flyers in his 2008 campaign that said, “Colby Coash knows that quality health care isn’t a luxury just for the wealthy, it is a basic human right. Colby Coash will fight to ensure that all Nebraskans have the health care they need.” He also promised to be a progressive in the Legislature.

Coash is a Republican, and last week was among the 21 Nebraska lawmakers to vote against cloture, effectively killing Medicaid expansion, a key provision of Obamacare that is voluntary for states. Expanding the program would have provided insurance coverage for an estimated 54,000 Nebraskans who fall into a coverage gap.

Last week marked the second time Nebraska lawmakers have attempted to get an expansion bill passed, and been stymied by a filibuster.

The chairman of the state Democratic Party, Vince Powers, took to Facebook and Twitter to chide Coash, saying, “Beware right-wing Republicans who campaign as progressives as Coash did.”

“He ended up fighting to keep 54,000 Nebraskans from health care,” Powers said via email.

This year, voters need to specifically ask candidates whether they support Medicaid expansion, he said.

“Coash got elected by misleading voters,” Powers said. “The moral is that voters must beware of right-wing Republicans who campaign as moderate Democrats.”

Coash’s Democratic opponent in 2012, Kyle Michaelis, also noted in a letter to a newspaper editor that during their race, Coash’s campaign literature proclaimed, “Underprivileged Nebraskans need Colby Coash fighting for them.” If that were true, Michaelis said, Coash would vote to expand Medicaid.

Coash has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Contact Deena Winter at deena@nebraskawatchdog.org. Follow Deena on Twitter at @DeenaNEWatchdog

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