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Red States Spent $2 Billion Rejecting Medicare Expansion

So much for their claims about "fiscal conservatism."
Red States Spent $2 Billion Rejecting Medicare Expansion

So much for their claims of "fiscal conservatism." As Kevin Drum at Mother Jones noted this week, Republicans who have refused to accept the Medicaid expansions in their states have been cutting off their noses to spite their faces.

Well, probably not their own of course, but those of the people in their states who would have benefited from taking the expansion in the ACA. If there's one thing you can count on from Republicans, it's that their governing principles always include finding new ways to kick poor people in their teeth as they did here: Red States Spent $2 Billion in 2015 to Screw the Poor:

Medicaid funding is shared by the states and the federal government. Between 2000 and 2013—the most recent year reported by the CMS actuaries—the share of Medicaid spending shouldered by the states increased by an average of 6.1 percent per year. This is not total spending. It's just the portion the states themselves paid for.

In 2015, according to a survey by the Kaiser Foundation, spending by states that refused to expand Medicaid grew by 6.9 percent. That's pretty close to the historical average. However, spending by states that accepted Medicaid expansion grew by only 3.4 percent.

Obamacare may have increased total Medicaid enrollment and spending, but the feds picked up most of the tab. At the state level, it actually reined in the rate of growth.

In other words, the states that have refused the expansion are cutting off their noses to spite their faces. They're actually willing to shell out money just to demonstrate their implacable hatred of Obamacare. How much money? Well, the expansion-refusing states spent $61 billion of their own money on Medicaid in 2014. If that had grown at 3.4 percent instead of 6.9 percent, they would have saved about $2 billion this year.

Here's what this means: the states that refuse to expand Medicaid are denying health care to the needy and paying about $2 billion for the privilege. Try to comprehend the kind of people who do this.

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Sadly it's not hard to comprehend at all. Just go look at your average GOP lunatic in the House of Representatives these days and listen to the batshit crazy nonsense coming out of their mouths every time they get on the House floor or someone allows one of them to appear on television.

Our rotten media has normalized their behavior by refusing to explain to the public just how extreme the right has become and for ignoring issues like this one when they have Republicans on the air. They're too busy with their endless horse race coverage to take any time out to discuss whether or not one party is preventing people from having access to health care coverage out of spite.

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