As part of the Affordable Care Act, all 50 states can expand their Medicaid programs to cover anyone earning up to 133 percent of the poverty level. At first the federal government funds 100 percent of this expansion, after which its contribution decreases to the still-extraordinarily-generous level of 90 percent. Currently states receive 50-73 percent of Medicaid funding from the federal government.
This expansion pushes billions of dollars into state governments and will lower the reliance of the working poor on emergency rooms, which will eventually bring down rates for all residents. Basically, it’s a great f*cking deal and turning it down will cost these states $8.4 billion annually in federal payments and leave 3.6 million people uninsured.
And those uninsured would be working families who currently earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford health insurance.
Still at least two dozen Republican-led states are planning on turning it down for the most obvious reason — their goal is to make Obamacare, and the president it was named after, fail.
And this recalcitrance will have a cost in dollars and lives, Rand found in its study of 14 of the states who are about to reject Medicaid expansion: “Based on earlier research showing that past expansions of Medicaid have led to decreases in deaths, the study estimates that an additional 19,000 deaths could occur annually if the 14 states studied do not expand Medicaid.”
And the states that turn down expansion will still be paying for the Affordable Care Act anyway, while letting their residents needlessly suffer and possibly die.
That’s why even Arizona’s Republican governor Jan Brewer — who is no fan of the president — is fighting to expand the program, as you can see in the video above. She may be partisan, but even she recognizes that the fiscal conservative and compassionate thing to do is to just say “Yes.”
Copyright 2013 The National Memo