According to a new study by Rand Corp., a consulting group which analyzed the red states with governors who oppose the Medicaid expansion, their treasonous actions will deprive 3.6 million of America’s least fortunate of health coverage under Obamacare, give up a $8.4 billion in already appropriated federal funding, and cost them over $1 billion in partial compensation to medical providers who care for the uninsured.
The sad thing is, since almost half of all states may decide not to implement the Medicaid expansion, those figures could be even more catastrophic.
President Obama and congressional Democrats intentionally created Obamacare so that the legislation would provide financial assistance to those with the lowest incomes. One very important mechanism in the bill ensures this by offering Medicaid coverage to people who are just over the federal poverty level and tax credits to other low and middle-income Americans to subsidize the purchase of private health insurance.
Incredibly, these Republican Governors, knowing full well that their actions will lead to more Americans literally dying on our streets due to lack of healthcare, have decided to score cheap political points rather than do their part to solve the American healthcare crisis.
“State policymakers should be aware that if they do not expand Medicaid, fewer people will have health insurance, and state and local governments will have to bear higher costs for uncompensated care,” Carter Price and Christine Eibner of the Rand Corp. write. “We estimated states’ costs for expansion to be less than the reduction in their costs for uncompensated care.”
If all of these governors had a sense of decency and decided not to opt out of the Medicaid expansion, a total of 3.6 million of their previously uninsured constituents would be eligible for Medicaid. How could these politicians sleep at night knowing that they are throwing millions of people under the bus just so they can make a few more dollars for the insurance industry and continue their unprecedented obstructionism?
The Rand Corp. based its analysis on the assumption that Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin wouldn’t expand Medicaid. The outcome of the Medicaid debate remains uncertain in several states, however, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) and state lawmakers struck a deal on the expansion last month, and states like Florida appear all but certain to reject the expansion for next year.
Obamacare will allow states to open their Medicaid programs to anyone whose income is below 133% of the federal poverty level, which currently stands at $15,282 for a single person.
Of course, Republican governors like Rick Perry of Texas and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana aren’t exactly providing a good reason for their refusal to help millions of Americans. Instead, questioning whether or not the federal government will uphold its promise to provide almost total funding for the expansion, despite several assurances from the Obama White House.
During these times of unprecedented economic need, it is unconscionable that the Republican Party continues to place corporate profits ahead of not just the wallets of everyday Americans, but also their health.