The Money Republicans Waste to Spite Obama

Kevin DrumKevin Drum wrote the best headline I’ve seen all week, Red States Spent $2 Billion in 2015 to Screw the Poor. It is based upon a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation. The information from it alone is amazing. It looked at data for fiscal year 2015. And it found that states that accepted the Medicaid expansion saw their Medicaid expenses go up by 3.4%. But for states that did not expand Medicaid, their Medicaid expenses went up 6.9% — even more than the recent average of roughly 6.1%. Let’s be clear here: this isn’t per capita spending; this is total spending. So the Medicaid expansion states are covering vastly more people and seeing their costs rise much slower.

Drum looked at what the red states spent on Medicaid in 2014 ($61 billion), and took the difference in the growth rates. So in 2015, they spent $65.3 billion. But if they had taken the Medicaid expansion, we can assume their costs would only be $63.1 billion. Thus, they did indeed spend more than $2 billion. Now I’m not sure that we can say that they did it specifically to screw the poor. That was certainly the result. But I think it is more correct that they don’t have a cogent explanation for why they haven’t taken the Medicaid expansion. It seems to be some ridiculous notion that if they just hold out, Obamacare will be destroyed. (Even if you grant that this might have once been a reasonable notion, it no longer is.)

The other side of this is that the states that have opted out of the Medicaid expansion are still paying into it. That’s what’s so crazy about the whole thing. The states that did not expand Medicaid are still paying a combined total of $20 billion in taxes for a program that they refuse to accept benefits from. This is in distinct opposition to how these people look at Social Security. Conservatives always justify taking the commie plot Social Security money under the rationale that they paid into it. And they are right! But here, no way.

Of course, we all know what’s really going on. The people don’t think in these terms. In fact, they wouldn’t even care about this issue if the party elites and Fox News hadn’t made such a big deal of the fact that Obamacare was the end of freedom as we know it. But these people don’t look at budgets. They don’t see that billions are going out for the program that they refuse to accept benefits from. But the Republican legislators and governors do. But they keep going with this because they are cowards and they’ve been trapped by their own “cunning” plans.

The good news is that numbers like these indicate the the red states will soon start taking the Medicaid money. We just have to wait until Obama is out of the White House. Then the conservatives will forget that they ever said he was born in Kenya. And they will forget that he was determined to destroy America. And, “Oh, look at all this money we’re throwing away; it just makes sense to get back money we are forced to send to the federal government!” And for the first time in a long time, these Republicans will be right.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

12 thoughts on “The Money Republicans Waste to Spite Obama

  1. You have more faith then normal today-because we know they will come up with some reason to refuse sensible policy if Clinton wins. The bottom line is our policies help people which makes voters happy. When voters are happy they vote for Democrats. Their policies don’t so they need something to make it okay to not support our policies.

  2. Conservatives always justify taking the commie plot Social Security money under the rationale that they paid into it. And they are right!

    Of course, keeping in mind that Social Security is insurance (as is Medicare) and you’re basically paying premiums. As with most insurance policies, you may get back less than you paid in premiums and you may get back more.

    • That’s a good way to think about it. But I think it is sad that we have to see it that way. We apparently aren’t decent enough people to simply think we should take care of the old.

      • That is because we are a totally youth obsessed culture. Except when it comes to older men, they get to continue existing and being coddled.

        • I don’t think that it is so much due to a youth-obsessed culture. I think it is more of an out-of-sight/out-of-mind kind of thinking with regards to the elderly. My parents both grew up in households (in the 1920s and 1930s) in which grandparents and great-grandparents were present, supported, and cared for. Now, you don’t see that as much because the elderly have the financial assistance of Social Security.

          Back in the 1980s, I think, I was watching one of those Oxford (?) debates moderated by Michael Kinsley and featuring William Buckley and others. (You might not be old enough to remember these debates on public TV.) At one of them, Robert Kuttner pointed out that Social Security (and Medicare) was not just helping the elderly, it was also helping the working man/woman who no longer had to bear the financial burden of his/her retired elders’ living and medical expenses. So, Social Security has been a great help, perhaps with the cost of blinding people such as conservatives to the alternative of shouldering those expenses themselves. And, as Frank said, we don’t seem to be decent enough to want to care for the elderly as the right thing to do.

          • I can see that. Grandparents are basically people you visit when you are a kid-they live on their own until they are really too ill in one way or another to have to be cared for by relatives or nursing homes.

            I know however we don’t put much value on the elderly as a society because we only really care about people to the extent they can provide us with some economic value. At least here in the US.

          • You (and Kuttner) are 100% correct. If we have to cut back on our working hours when we don’t want to, because we need to care for aging parents, we’re wasting productivity. Same thing if we have to switch from a job we like and do well to one we like less because the hours are more flexible.

            And this rotten mess happens all the time. The privatized nursing-home industry costs way, way too much. Medicare will pay for it when (not if, when) someone goes dead broke paying that industry. Forget about signing over your house to your kid — there’s a time limit on doing that, if you do it right before you claim to be broke, Medicare will not pay for your care until you sell the house to pay off the nursing home.

            (So, if anyone reads this and has a aging parent with equity, get them to transfer it to someone else NOW. Way before they need long-term care. Because nobody can afford it. And if they wait ’til the last moment, that house/inheritance is gone.)

            We have to get the profit motive out of care for our vulnerable adults. It underpays workers and overstresses managers (managers at these facilities are, by law, not required to be paid overtime, while their employer often requires them to cover every open shift or be fired.) It’s a recipe for creating resentful, unsafe worksites, where frustrated workers take out their anger on the elderly/disabled. As you probably know, abuse is rampant.

            And it’s too expensive! We could easily have state-run facilities that paid workers much better and made managers less like slaves. It would be far cheaper than what we spend on adult care now.

            This is full-crisis mode, as you/Elizabeth/Frank observe. We’re spending too much on it. We’re getting abusive care for vulnerable adults and we’re mistreating workers. And it gets worse every day. Just so some companies can make profit.

            It needs to stop.

            • The only way to change it is to get better people in office. The only way to get better people in office is to help them run.

              But the only way people will get involved to help run is to frog march them down to the local candidate’s office and tell them to do it or else.

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