Monday, December 9, 2013

Medicaid Expansion and "The Wingnut Hole"

The refusal of most Republican-led States to go along with Obamacare's Medicaid expansion will lead to citizens in those States losing in more ways than one:
Not expanding Medicaid is not a rational decision for any state. But there are some very big losers: Texas ($9.6 billion), Florida ($5 billion), Georgia ($2.9 billion), Virginia ($2.8 billion) and North Carolina ($2.6 billion). The citizens of those states will continue to "bear a significant share of the overall cost of the expansion through federal tax payments," the report says, while they will "not enjoy any of the benefits."
Bringing it down to the real world, where interest in Obamacare is growing:
...[T]hat robust interest has a downside: Navigators are forced to tell more and more people that they probably won't be able to get covered because their states, all of which had a GOP-controlled legislative chamber or governor, have refused to expand Medicaid. Lynne Thorp, who is overseeing the University of South Florida's navigator program in that state, told TPM that about one in four people who contact her team fall into that Medicaid gap.
"Those are hardest phone calls because it doesn't make any sense to them," Thorp said. "We have to explain that they fall into this gap where this program can't assist them."
It makes sense if you look at the numbers. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 38 percent of the U.S. uninsured have an income that's below the poverty line -- the population that won't qualify for either Medicaid expansion or any financial help to purchase private coverage through the law in non-expanding states. About 5 million people fall in that gap in those states.  (our emphasis)
Democrats should be driving home the point to every one of those citizens caught in "the wingnut hole*" that the refusal to expand Medicaid in their State and, hence, their failing to qualify either for Medicaid or for financial help under Obamacare was a conscious political decision by the callous Social Darwinists and Ayn Rand disciples calling themselves the Republican Party these days.  We think it's yet more proof that the American right is determined to fight its nihilistic political battles (see posts below) no matter who gets injured in the process.   That makes it a potent political issue for Democrats going into 2014.

*Credit Ed Kilgore, Washington Monthly.

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