But last week, with Election Day approaching, Tillis had a very different take on Medicaid expansion. “It wasn't like I had an ideological objection to expanding Medicaid,” he told Time Warner Cable News, according to the Charlotte Observer. “We're trending in a direction where we should consider potential expansion. … I would encourage the state legislature and the governor to consider it.”
Tillis is locked in a dead heat with incumbent Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan. The last eight polls have shown the two candidates separated by no more than three percentage points.
That could explain Tillis' sudden re-evaluation of Medicaid expansion. Last month, Public Policy Polling released a poll showing 57% of likely North Carolina voters support expanding Medicaid, compared to just 28% who oppose it. In addition, Republican North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has indicated in recent months that he's open to possibly expanding Medicaid.
Currently 27 states have opted to expand Medicaid as allowed under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Several other states – including Utah, Indiana and Wyoming – are considering expanding the healthcare program for low-income households.
Follow Paul Demko on Twitter: @MHpdemko