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Blog of Mass Destruction

Punishing Your Own

By The Reverend Published: July 3, 2012

As Digby pointed out yesterday, the most progressive part of the Affordable Care Act is Medicaid expansion. A good portion of the new millions who will have access to healthcare under Obamacare will come from the Medicaid provision. The bill establishes qualification levels for Medicaid at up to 133% of the poverty level.

When the ACA is fully implemented in 2014, the federal government will pay for 100% of expanded Medicaid expenses for three years. After the first three years, states will then pay 10% of expanded Medicaid costs, the feds paying 90%.

As you probably know form yesterday's news....some name brand Republican governors are stating that they will not participate in the expanded Medicaid portion of the ACA, neither will they cooperate in establishing the health insurance exchanges mandated by the constitutional bill.

(Fla. Gov. Rick) Scott took his opposition one step further, vowing not to "implement these exchanges that will increase the cost of health and make Medicaid worse," even if Obama is re-elected. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker have made similar remarks. And while Texas Gov. Rick Perry has also made some strong statements against the law, he hasn't officially announced whether his state will or will not comply with the law.

On the federal insurance exchanges getting set up, it's like GOP governors are sticking their lower lip out in a pouting fit......because if states don't set up their own exchanges, the feds will do it for them. The Obamacare insurance exchanges will be set up, red state governor tantrums or not.

Needless to say, if these obstructionistic governors continue to refuse to expand Medicaid in their states, millions of poor people in red states will suffer as a result.

"A governor would be walking away from millions, in some cases billions of federal dollars," Tim Jost, a consumer advocate and professor of health law at Washington and Lee University, told

Furthermore, they'd be leaving a significant portion of their citizens without health care. Florida, according to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, has the second-highest rate of uninsured Americans at 21 percent. The expansion of Medicaid in the state would have covered 951,622 people according to Kaiser.

State governors are obliged to look after the general welfare of the citizens of his/her state. But just like we've seen in the refusal by stiffnecked GOP governors.....Christie, Scott, grow jobs in their state through federal grants for rail projects or tunnels.....some GOP governors would rather punish their citizens for ideological and political reasons rather than help provide the jobs or health care their citizens really need. And let me add that the rejection of federal stimulus monies by red state governors came during our deepest recession in 70 years.

These GOP state governors are so rigid and thuggish in their ideology that they would rather keep unemployment higher in their state than to take job-creating federal stimulus funds. Now, these same stiff-necked, red state leaders are willing to go as far as to punish poor people in their state, keeping them off health care rolls, rather than cooperating with the federal government on Medicaid expansion.

These governors can parade around in front of teevee cameras boasting about how independent-minded, boot strapping states don't need no help from no stinking federal government......but they can, can't they? Governors have jobs and they have health's the jobless and the poor and the uninsured in their states who will get punished by the stiff-necked stage performances of GOP bad-actor-governors.

One more thing to consider......let's say that all 26 states that filed suit against Obamacare, and lost,....conspire to reject an expansion of Medicaid. First, millions of poor, uninsured citizens in those states would still be denied health care when health care, post the ACA passage, is available to them. Perhaps half of the anticipated new Medicaid recipients would be blocked from participating in the program. What kind of precedent would that set? What kind of precedent was set by nullification laws in Confederate States before the Civil War?

Better yet, what kind of people would do stuff like that to their own citizens? Stubbornness and rigidity and ideology are one thing....but cruelty and seeming indifference to the plight of poor, uninsured citizens in your own state, is something else entirely.


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