May 28, 2013

Ed Schultz hits GOP on Obamacare repeal effort

News flash! Obamacare is already working for people, despite Republicans' doom and gloom predictions.

In California, Obamacare's implementation is already well underway and benefiting residents already. Insurance rates are lower than expected, and the exchange implementation is proceeding according to schedule. Whether this is due to some of the large for-profit insurers opting out of the exchanges or the requirement that at least 80 percent of the premium be spent on actual health benefits is still unknown, but the consensus is that California's exchange will be of great benefit to the uninsured residents of our state.

In Arizona, an interesting twist. Governor Jan Brewer has laid down the law to the Arizona state legislature, first threatening and then carrying through on the threat to veto every bill that crosses her desk until they approve the Medicaid expansion. An unexpected, but welcome development! I haven't quite figured out whether her motivation is purely financial or there is something more there, but whatever the reason, it's welcome.

Meanwhile, in the red states, a different and far sadder story is unfolding. Daily Kos:

The Urban Institute estimates that 5.7 million uninsured adults with incomes below the poverty level would gain coverage except that they live in states that are not expanding Medicaid. That includes almost 1 million Floridians and another 1.5 million in Texas, people who will be forced to go without health insurance despite the fact that Washington would pick up the bill for their states through 2017 and 90 percent of it after that. Despite leading a state with the 46th ranked health care system and 30 percent of those ages 18 to 64 uninsured, Governor Rick Perry declared the Lone Star State would have nothing to do with Obamacare's expansion of Medicaid. As Politico recounted the scene in April:

"Texas will not be held hostage to the Obama administration's attempt to force us into this fool's errand," he said, flanked by Republican Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and Reps. Joe Barton and Michael Burgess.

Of course, the real hostages are the millions of uninsured in states governed by Republicans. As Roy S. Mitchell, the executive director of the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program lamented, ""there's going to be a huge void" as many uninsured poor people find that they are not eligible for Medicaid or insurance subsidies. "There will be an outcry."Especially when those lower-income red staters find out about the final, cruel irony of their Republican leaders' rejection of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion. In keeping with thepersistent dynamic of red state socialism, blue state taxpayers would have helped pay for it.

PoliticusUSA delivers the bottom line on Republicans' refusal to implement the Medicaid expansion: The Republican agenda is one of extermination of those who have not, so those who have more can get more.

Republicans hate any American that is not in the 1-2% of the richest income earners, but they cannot tolerate the 47% of Americans they consider a drag on the wealthy. It is true that killing off 5.7 million poverty-level Americans will not make a huge dent in the 47-percents’ numbers, but it is a nice start in eradicating what Republicans call parasites and takers, and they are likely disappointed it is a slow method of exterminating the poor, but it is a death sentence all the same. Republicans cannot claim their refusal to expand Medicaid is a fiscal decision because it will not cost their states one penny until 2017 and then their share is only 10% of the cost of expansion. The people that do earn enough over the poverty level to qualify for assistance should not breathe easy because Republican-controlled states are cutting their wages, robbing pensions, and passing “right to work” for less laws that inform they are in jeopardy of falling into poverty and joining the 5.7 million Americans slated for slow death from lack of healthcare and it includes retired Americans, working poor families, and those who earn enough to receive tax credits to purchase healthcare insurance.

I'm waiting for the exodus of red staters into blue states where they can actually get health care under the Affordable Care Act, which will stretch the abilities of blue states to accomodate them, and force a solution which might look something like single payer.

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