The way politics is right now, it seems pointless to even discuss it. There are lots of parts of this, but the main thing on my mind is the Medicaid expansion. The current status with roughly half of the states not expanding Medicaid is just cruel. The best you can say about the politicians who are blocking expansion is that they are placing theoretical concerns about government accountability ahead of practical concerns about poor people dying because of lack of healthcare. But a more clear-eyed view of it would be that they are purposefully hurting the working poor for the sake of political gain. It is shameful.
Ed Kilgore wrote two articles today that looked at some numbers related to this. The first was, Medicaid Expansion and the “Socialized Medicine” Underground. Most of the article is about what appears to be an obsession with him: the fact that Obamacare approval numbers appear much worse than they are because of people who say they don’t like Obamacare because they want a single-payer system. Republicans like to note the polls that say that far more people dislike Obamacare than like it. But if you include the “I want single payer” crowd in the “supports Obamacare” group, the program is actually quite popular.
But what I took for the article (actually just a two paragraph post) were the numbers of people who supported the Medicaid expansion. He quotes a Public Policy Polling survey of Texans who think the state should expand Medicaid by an overwhelming plurality: 49-35. A Georgia College poll found that Georgians were for it by a huge majority: 60-30. So even in these bright red states, the Medicaid expansion is popular. The people are not demanding the stonewalling that the Republican Party is giving them. Again: shameful.
The second article was, Medicaid Expansion: Deal Too Good To Refuse Getting Better. It is based upon a new Congressional Budget Office report that finds that the earlier extremely generous federal government funding of the states will be even more generous. He quoted Edwin Park at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities as saying, “CBO now estimates that the federal government will, on average, pick up more than 95 percent of the total cost of the Medicaid expansion and other health reform-related costs in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) over the next ten years (2015-2024).” That means that states would pay just 1.6% more than they now pay for Medicaid and CHIP to insure far more people. Shame, shame, shame:
I really wonder what these people tell themselves. I’m sure there is a whole lot of cognitive dissonance going on. But I wonder what they will think in ten years when more practical people finally give in and expand Medicaid. Probably nothing. It will be like global warming. If we’re lucky, we’ll get an, “Oops!” But more likely, they will never think about it. The press will be too polite to say anything. And they will never come face-to-face with anyone who was harmed by their shameful behavior. And remember: these are mostly people who consider themselves Christians. What would Christ do? Heal the sick. What would Christians do? Grumble about all the free healthcare Those People were getting.
Shame. Shame. Shame.