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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

This week Governor Jan Brewer (R-AZ) shocked many Americans by doing something that made sense. Brewer accepted the federal funds for Medicaid expansion in Obamacare, something she has spent the last few years raving against.

When the Supreme Court decided that states could turn down the expansion of Medicaid, most would have assumed that Brewer — given her contentious relationship with the president — would be the first to reject funds that would require the state to offer health insurance to any citizen earning up to 133 percent of the poverty rate.

But as she accepted it, Brewer made the central argument for the president’s signature reform. “With this move, we will secure a federal revenue stream to cover the costs of the uninsured who already show up in our doctor’s offices and emergency rooms,” she said.

The governor still needs to win over her Republican legislature but she — like fellow Republican governors Susana Martinez of New Mexico and Brian Sandoval of Nevada — has taken the crucial first step that more than a dozen Republican governors are likely to reject.

Though they haven’t said “no,” Republican governors in blue states like Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania haven’t said “yes” and are threatening to turn down the billions in funding that will cover the uninsured, prevent rate hikes causes by free riders and improve the economy creating good new jobs.

The argument that the states cannot afford the expansion is so fallacious that the Republican governor of Florida Rick Scott had to lie to do it.

The federal government covers 100 percent of Medicaid expansion until 2016 then 95 percent in 2017, 94 percent in 2018, and 93 percent in 2019. After 2020 the state will have to cover 10 percent of the costs. But as Brewer points out, covering the uninsured both lowers the cost of private insurance and state costs.

“An Urban Institute study estimates that under the ACA, states would see a decrease of between $26 billion and $52 billion in uncompensated care costs over the 2014-2019 period,” according to January Angeles at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that states that do accept Medicaid expansion will pay only 2.8 percent more than they would be paying with current Medicaid. Some studies estimate that the states that accept the expansion will end up with nearly no increase in what they pay now while covering hundreds of thousands of the poorest Americans who earn too much to be currently covered by Medicaid.

Of course, the states who have already rejected Medicaid expansion are the ones that needed it the most — like Texas, Mississippi and Arkansas.

Republicans are unilaterally turning down Medicaid expansion for some of their poorest citizens, which will drive up the costs of private insurance and cost their states good jobs. So where is the outrage we saw when the public option was dropped from the Affordable Care Act?

Real people are being denied real health insurance and there’s still time to do something about it.

Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr.com

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL)


Twitter has restricted access to a tweet posted Monday by Rep. Matt Gaetz, in which the Florida Republican called for what commenters described as extrajudicial killings of protesters.

"Now that we clearly see Antifa as terrorists, can we hunt them down like we do those in the Middle East?" Gaetz tweeted, joining Donald Trump and other Republicans in blaming anti-fascists for the violence across the country at protests over the death of George Floyd.

Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for eight minutes, even as Floyd said he could not breathe. Autopsies have found that Floyd died of asphyxia.While Gaetz's tweet is still up, users have to click on it to see its contents. It's covered by a box that reads, "This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain accessible."

Democratic lawmakers called out Gaetz in response to the tweet and urged Twitter to remove it from the social media platform.

"Take the Gaetz tweet down right now @twitter. RIGHT NOW," Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) tweeted Monday night. "The survivors of mass shootings are lighting up my phone. They are scared to death this will inspire someone to start shooting into a crowd tonight. They are right."

After Twitter took action against his tweet, Gaetz said, "Their warning is my badge of honor."

"Antifa is a terrorist organization, encouraging riots that hurt Americans. Our government should hunt them down. Twitter should stop enabling them. I'll keep saying it," Gaetz said in a tweet that he pinned to the top of his profile page.

Donald Trump has demanded that the antifa movement be labeled a domestic terrorist organization.

However, as factcheck.org noted, "There is no such official federal designation for domestic terrorism organizations." Even if such a designation existed, the site said, it would be "difficult or questionable" to categorize antifa in that manner because it is not an organized group with a hierarchy and leadership.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.