Saturday, May 25, 2013

New York Times: Republicans Want the Poor to Die

The very poor: You don't deserve medical care if you live in a red state.

It sounds astounding, when I say the Republican Party wants the poor to die, doesn't it? But an article in this morning's NYT points out the key ramification of states -- red states all -- that have refused to expand Medicaid to take advantage of Obamacare.

Republican governors and/or their Republican legislatures in about half the states, in an effort to thwart the Affordable Care Act, have refused to help their poorest citizens, even though the federal government will pay 100% of the Medicaid costs for the first three years and 90% after that.

The central cruelty of this refusal to roll out the ACA fully in these red states -- among them Texas, Louisiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida -- is that it's the poorest of the poor who are most affected:
Bee Moorhead, the executive director of Texas Impact, an interfaith group that favors the expansion of coverage, said: “A lot of people will come in, file applications and find they are not eligible for help because they are too poor. We’ll have to tell them, ‘If only you had a little more money, you could get insurance subsidies, but because you are so poor, you cannot get anything.’
“That’s an odd message, a very strange message. And if people are sick, they will be really upset.”
In Atlanta, Amanda Ptashkin, the director of outreach and advocacy at Georgians for a Healthy Future, a consumer group, said: “Hundreds of thousands of people with incomes below the poverty level would be eligible for Medicaid if the state decided to move forward with the expansion of Medicaid. As things now stand, they will not be eligible for anything. What do we do for them? What do we tell them?”
There it is. Medicaid expansion is the means Obamacare uses to reach the poorest of the poor, and by blocking Medicaid expansion, Republicans are assuring that the very poor will have no access to medical care.

What does that say about Republicans? Read the whole article. It's deeply disturbing.

Texas Governor Rick Perry: Don't look at me, I've got healthcare.

Update. On the other side of the ledger, blue-state California has already set up its healthcare exchange, and rates are coming in lower than expected. Scratch one Republican talking point. Check it out.

Update 2. Also worth reading is a Matthew Yglesias post in Slate that goes beyond the implications of the successful California roll out. He posits -- correctly, I hope -- that people are going to like Obamacare because, in spite of negative media coverage, it's going to be good for people, which will eventually trump Republican talking points and media's preference for "train wreck" narratives. Read it.

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