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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

What happens when millions of voters find out that they’re being denied a federal benefit because of where they live?

What happens when voters in Alabama discover that they won’t get the same subsidized insurance as their cousins in Kentucky because elected Republicans have decided it wasn’t a good idea? What happens when voters in Georgia recognize that they’re still paying for Medicaid expansion but will get none of the savings that could come from covering the uninsured? What happens when South Carolinians hear their Tea Party has singlehandedly stopped tens of millions of health care dollars from being flushed into their economy?

President Obama is about to begin his next “big campaign“: getting seven million uninsured people to sign up for health care when the Affordable Care Act open enrollment begins on October 1.

Around this time, millions of Americans who currently make too much to qualify for Medicaid but earn under 133 percent of the poverty level will begin to find out that the subsidized insurance they’re entitled to under the Affordable Care Act has been rejected for them by their states’ Republicans.

Despite polls showing Obamacare still about as popular as it was when it was passed, this unprecedented moment is fueling optimism in Democratic activists who see “a once-in-a-generation opportunity” in the at least 24 states where Medicaid will not be expanded. Hopes are up because of new polling that shows expansion is very popular, even in the reddest states in the Union:


Daily Kos‘ mdmslle wrote, “This is an opportunity for Democrats to get ahead on this issue in states where people will see changes in coverage and where the GOP will continue to try to blame Obama and the Democratic health reform initiative. We can fight back.” She is trying to lead a movement in these states to let voters know that the only thing standing between them and a more humane health care system is their states’ Republicans.

This new wave of optimism about the Affordable Care Act is buoyed by good news from California about rates and the feeling that Republicans’ constant predictions of disaster have lowered voters’ expectations to the point that anything short of “Armageddon” will be a relief.

The New York Times‘ Paul Krugman summarized that positive outlook from the left on Obamacare like this:

Still, here’s what it seems is about to happen: millions of Americans will suddenly gain health coverage, and millions more will feel much more secure knowing that such coverage is available if they lose their jobs or suffer other misfortunes. Only a relative handful of people will be hurt at all. And as contrasts emerge between the experience of states like California that are making the most of the new policy and that of states like Texas whose politicians are doing their best to undermine it, the sheer meanspiritedness of the Obamacare opponents will become ever more obvious.

Republicans wouldn’t dare to reject a new Medicare benefit on a state-by-state level for one simple reason: Seniors vote.

If it turns out that Medicaid expansion drives the working poor and those who empathize with them to the polls in droves, the right’s worst nightmares about Obamacare may come true in 2014.


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Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • docb

    Wondered if/ when the party would get this…now what do they do with it!

    • sigrid28

      Democrats get it, but I don’t know about Republicans. As Democrats, we have a delicate line to walk, because we have had to be on the defense about Obamacare, partly as a result of its slow implementation. Americans are not very good at waiting for desired results, especially the young, who are used to the pace of the Internet, and the old, who don’t see themselves as having a lot of time to waste.

      To win over voters in Red states to whom the loss of health care benefits will come as a rude awakening, it is incumbent on us to go on what I would call a velvet offense. The president and his surrogates have already made an elegant and eloquent roll-out of the benefits of the program, welcoming all, and that will continue. It is up to others in the media to pound home the message that Republican legislatures and governors are behind denying these benefits to all.

      On a local level, I wish there were an army of health care advisers that those denied benefits might call, especially in Red states, who would outline ACA benefits denied at just the time when the caller most needs them. Such a health care advisory service should at the same time inform callers about how low cost medications and inexpensive medical services that are still available in their Red state–if any. A follow-up mailer could inform them of when the next election will occur when they can vote to change this situation, including even the address of their polling place and the telephone number of the local election office.

      It will not be easy to avoid being snarky in this process, but that would be best. No one sick enough to seek a medical appointment wants to be told to pray to get well until the next election–even though that is just the unpleasant position in which elected officials in Red states have left their constituents who cannot afford health insurance.

      • charleo1

        I was an insurance agent, for more than 30 years. And as I
        listened to President Obama try mightily to describe the reasons
        why we needed to reform our healthcare system. What The
        Healthcare Reform Act is. And how it would bring down the
        costs of healthcare by, “Over time, Bending the curve of the,
        rising cost of healthcare.” I thought to myself, it’s a good thing
        he’s President of The United States. Because, he would starve
        to death, selling health insurance! Throughout my career in
        insurance, I have had the pleasure of meeting some of the
        most phenomenal sales people, in the Country. Just ordinary
        looking, men, and women, that become amazing, even as
        they describe, and sell, one of the most unwieldy products
        there is. The hopefully, soon to be client, cannot hold this
        product in their hands. turn it over, and inspect it. Feel it’s
        heft. Or take it for a test drive. It’s the sales professional then,
        that must make the product real, in the mind of the client.
        Explain in the simplest terms, how this will fill their particular
        need. And then,” lend,” them the confidence in the product,
        in the sales professional, and themselves, to buy. And, no one,
        I don’t care how good looking they are, or how much charisma
        one may have. how much knowledge they have about the policy.
        No one, not even The President of These United States, can
        do this, their first crack out of the barrel. So, you’re exactly
        right. If you ask the customer to buy, before he understands the
        policy. Or, has more questions. Or, feels he is being pushed,
        in anyway. He’ll say no, every time. I guarantee it. And that
        accounts for much of the anxiety about healthcare reform.
        The client has more questions. And no one’s closed the deal.

        • sigrid28

          All of the uninsured and underinsured for whom Obamacare would be a blessing need someone with your deep experience with selling health insurance and your superior writing skills to create the script for the health care/insurance advisers I envision. If YOU write it, they will come.

        • sigrid28

          My reply to you has been erased by the National Memo, I guess. No wonder things fall apart, the center cannot hold. I will once again stop posting on this site.

          • charleo1

            You’re reply came through on my e-mail.
            Just not on the board. Thanks for the thumbs up!

      • docb

        Well said Sigrid..My twitchy x-inlaws in Texas are getting very nervous about perry and the crazy repubs. In Calif, the premiums are projected to be going down and in Tx and the other States with bagger Gov/legislators the tax payers are going to be paying for service they will be denied by the State Government!!! Karmic justice for the repubs that voted these crooks in!

  • Obamacare is not unpopular. Look at the numbers again. The pollster combined the number of people who disapprove because the ACA is too liberal with the number of people who disapprove because it doesn’t go far enough.

    • Cedric

      Exactly. There are about 15% who would like the law to go farther and that is why they disapprove of it.

      • RobertCHastings

        But it is likely going too far to the left would alienate others. It’s a catch-22 situation. However, much could be done to popularize “Obamacare” were it simplified and adequately explained. An awful lot of people will not even read “War and Peace” simply because of its size, although it is a wonderful novel.

  • MikkiChan

    In Louisiana the fact others are ‘getting something’ will be very successfully sold on the R’s side. I can hear it now: The Blah prezidint’s giving all our stuffs to the Blahs!!!! It’ll work again, like it almost always has.

    • Garry Owen Ault

      Would you be a relative of Huey Long?

      • MikkiChan

        Yeah, what of it?

  • Sand_Cat

    No, it’s what they put in instead of taking advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

  • 4sanity4all

    So, I think the Democrats better educate the people in the Red states, so they can apply pressure in their state so they don’t get left behind. With the kind of misunderstanding the Republicans are promoting, they don’t have a chance of getting the correct information until it is to late. As much as I don’t like how hateful the Red states have been toward everything the President has tried to do, I’d hate to see them not get health care.

  • Lynda Groom

    I imagine that when those poor citizens represented by the party of NO find out they’ve been screwed again perhaps they will contact their elected leaders and ask why. It could happen. California is light years ahead of nearly everybody on the establishment of exchanges and at very competitive prices. Those head-in-sand states have been running in reverse ever since the bill became law. I can’t grasp why the leadership of those states would be so against their own citizens, even when you take ideology into consideration. Hurting your own does not make sense in the long run. ACA is the law of the law, the Supreme Court has determined the law legitimate and it is way past time to stop the hyperbole and get to work making the law work for the largest number of citizens as possible.

    • charleo1

      Of course, you’re exactly right, Lynda. Why would Republicans, in the
      Red States, be aganist helping their own people? Two words. T-Party,
      and primaries.

  • According to recent polls on this issue 42% of Americans oppose Obamacare, 38% support it, and the other 20% believe they don’t know enough about it to decide. With that in mind, the key is to educate the 20% that acknowledges they don’t know enough about the program. My guess is that they already see benefits in areas such as the pre-existing condition clause, caps, allowing dependents to remain in their parents insurance until age 26, and other facets of the program that have already been deployed, but there has been such a barrage of negativism from the GOP that those who have not researched the program and afraid of unknown evils. One of the fallacies repeated most often is the fact that Obamacare forces ALL Americans to give up their current insurance coverage and join the exchanges. That cynicism of that reaches ridiculous proportions when the same people that advance that false notion insist on Civil Servants being denied their current health insurance program and being forced to join Obamacare. The truth is that Obamacare encourages those who already have employer-provided or individual healthcare coverage to retain their plans. The main reason for Obamacare is to provide medical care to the uninsured and lower the premiums of individuals and small business owners who currently pay astronomical premiums by creating exchanges that allow them to bargain for lower premiums. It is also important to note that Obamacare is not getting rid of insurance companies, and that for profit insurance companies will continue to administer healthcare in the USA until a single payer system is adopted, if that ever happens.

    • Lawless4U

      Also remember that fully 1/3 of those who oppose it, oppose it because they do not believe the law goes far enough.

  • FT66

    I would like to bring here the example of driving in comparison to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

    For those drivers, for the first time you sat in a car holding the steering, did anything cross your mind that: you will drive fast; you will be able to learn something on your own; you will enjoy your driving; you finally be expert and teach others as well?

    That was totally a dream. It is the same to Obamacare. No one knows what this Affordable Care Act will bring, BUT so long as we are full of hope, and we are willing/like/ happy to see it is in implemented, this lovely thing, will be enjoyed by a lot of people, if not the few as we are told now according to polls!

  • howa4x

    Maybe democrats now will get the backbone they lacked when they didn’t face down the tea party when the law as passed. Instead they ran for cover and let the numskulls in the TP out yell them in public meetings. The DNC ran away too, instead of running adds that told the truth about the benefits of the law. The pressure will grow on Republican governors to accept the Medicaid expansion. This is evident in Fla where TP governor Scott accepted it after being pilloried by everyone there. His poll numbers were underwater just like Nikki Halley’s in SC. Perry in Tx has the fast growing minority population and if he doesn’t accept it he will feel the wrath of the voters. It is one thing to oppose Obama and another to be negligent. It is not the old days where people didn’t know what is going on in other states. We now live in a global village with a myriad of talk shows and blogs. Voters in Red states will know quickly they are being left out. Also if Obama comes in and sets up the exchanges after the Republican governors refuse publically to do it, and the people get coverage, then the voters will see the republicans as the boy who cried wolf.

    • bckrd1

      Unfortunately the Republican legislature denied Rick Scott and the people of Florida the Medicaid expansion.

      • howa4x

        That is truly mean spirited and idiotic

        • bckrd1

          Yes it is. Welcome to Flori-duh.

  • Some of ObamaCare has kicked in already, like the donut hole in Med D, which will be finish filling in by 2014. IL has ObamaCare now for workers who are disabled (HBWD) which enables a disabled person to buy into ObamaCare. I know a single adult in IL making about $20,000 and his insurance premium payments are $25 a month, with $3.50 co-pays for prescriptions, office visits, emergency room and hospital stays. Yes, $3.50 a day for a hospital stay. Too bad that Scott Walker has turned down the Federal money for his state. Walker hates ObamaCare more than he cares about uninsured people in his state.

  • bckrd1

    It would certainly be a consideration when I vote. I believe we should all have access to quality, affordable health care. Any politician who is standing in the way of me getting it while he takes taxpayer funded healthcare will pay the price at the polls. No one should lose everything just because they had the misfortune to get sick or in an accident. It is immoral. What I find truly galling is for those of us who do the right things in life and who build assets, a house, small savings, trying not to be a burden on society, have to lose everything before the can get help yet those who never did a damn thing but party and live a carefree life and don’t save for the future get taken care of and never have to pay it back. That is wrong.

  • youmustbejoking

    The Affordable Health Care Act is so important to so many people! My adult, always working and self-supporting daughter was suddenly affected by a health condition that came out of nowhere that keeps her from working in the field for which she trained and from so many other jobs. She can’t legally drive anymore due to her condition (no public transportation available) and has a difficult time being able to work enough hours to support them. She can’t get health care coverage and has to have a delicate condition treated by whichever doctor shows up at the free/reduced clinic she goes to. These doctors are wonderful people for putting in time in this clinic, but not a one has any experience in dealing with this condition. The medications that help to control it are dangerous if not correctly prescribed and the level of the medication needed is difficult to find. She is in desperate need of coverage so she can see a doctor that specializes in treating her condition. It can’t start soon enough for her. She would love to have her health back so she can have a normal life, but that isn’t going to happen. If she were able to get the right medical care, she would have the best chance of being in control of her life again.

  • demhack

    Of course the poll left out 1 key factor that under obamacare you lose your existing insurance carrier and your premiums will triple

    • ralphkr

      Not even the insurance companies battling to stop Obamacare from being passed claimed anything as outrageous as that, demhack. Their economists did announce that if ObamaCare was passed that premiums would rise by 39%. Buried deep in that same studies publication the insurance company tame economists also predicted that premiums would rise by 89% in the same time period if ObamaCare was NOT passed. After a number of us discovered the latter statement and starting posting it with links to the site that publication suddenly disappeared from the Internet but the companies stilled trumpeted the 39% rise prediction.

    • NO you don’t lose your existing insurance carrier and the premiums are less in California where they have allready been given bids on the new premiums.