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Medicaid Expansion and the Tragedy of Republican Malevolence

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  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    Republicans have a new rallying cry in their ceaseless drive to kill Obamacare: millions of individuals are being "dropped" by their health insurance companies and will be "forced" to enter into the health insurance marketplace if they wish to purchase medical insurance. Their suspect use of verbiage is nothing new in the political world and is not surprising, but the national media picking up on these talking points as if they were iron clad facts only reinforces my evolving belief that the fourth estate is becoming an entity so intertwined with the back and forth of Washington that it willfully ignores substance in pursuit of the next gotcha moment. If the media actually cared about substance then it would challenge these Republican talking points and question how the twenty-five states that are turning down Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act are not "taking away" insurance from their citizens.

    A little talked about yet hugely consequential aspect of the Supreme Court's ruling upholding the majority of the ACA is that states have the right to opt out of the Medicaid expansion part of the law. Twenty-five mostly right leaning states hardly waited for the ink to dry before coming out against the expansion, which effectively guarantees that five million middle to low income Americans will not have access to affordable health care. These five million individuals are real people with real health problems and they are the real losers in this game that Republicans insist on playing.

    While Republicans give a variety of excuses as to why they decided to deny health care to their own citizens, their real intent is clear: sabotage Obamacare and the expansion of Medicaid at all costs. They seem to be ambivalent to the fact that real people are hurting, going bankrupt, and in some cases dying because of their actions.

    The real tragedy with the Republicans insistence in denying this Medicaid expansion is that they govern states that have some of the most unhealthy and sick individuals in the country. The vast majority are Southern and Midwestern states who's citizens already live an average of five years less than citizens in the coastal and mountain states. Now these citizens are being denied care that is afforded to the twenty-five states that have or are in the process of expanding their Medicaid.

    So, the next time you happen to be discussing the Affordable Care Act with an individual who claims that "millions are being dropped" from their health insurance, remind them of this fact. Republican Governors and Legislatures across this country are willfully and deliberately denying healthcare to their own citizens in the name of spite and it is high time for them to start being called out on it.