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Posted by on Dec 5, 2013 in At TMV, Health, Politics | 5 comments

The really dangerous politics of the ACA

Republican governors and legislatures have let their hate of Obama get in the way of the well being of their citizens.  Not only will citizens not get health insurance  their states will lose billions of dollars in federal money.  But it gets even worse:

GOP obstruction of Obamacare is closing hospitals

The Obamacare website is open for business. But the Charlton Memorial Hospital in Folkston, Georgia, is closed.

Because Republicans in half the states have blocked the expansion of Medicaid, funds to public hospitals with large uninsured populations have been slashed. So far, at least five public hospitals have been closed this year and 5,000 hospital employees have been laid off nationwide. The closures are expected to worsen in the coming years.

In Georgia, as many as 15 more rural hospitals may close “within months” and in Tennessee, which is putting off a decision on expanding Medicaid, almost half of the 61 rural hospitals in the state might face “major cuts or closure.” This is a direct — and disastrous — consequence of Republicans’ ideological opposition to Obamacare.

This doesn’t just effect the poor uninsured but the middle class and even the wealthy.

There was really no downside to extending Medicaid to cover individuals who earn up to 133% of the federal poverty level. The federal government is covering 100% of the cost of Medicaid for the next two years and 90% afterward. Columnist Josh Barro has pointed out the bind: “(W)hen Republican state officials decline to participate, they will have to explain to both medical providers and potential Medicaid beneficiaries that they turned down free federal money just to spite the President.” And yet the 25 states that have indeed refused Medicaid expansion will soon find they’re not just spiting the President but also their own citizens.

The people who rely on these “essential hospitals” aren’t just low-income folks. Middle-class Americans who live in rural communities will have to travel 40 or 50 miles just to reach the nearest emergency room if these hospitals close their doors. (Bold mine, RB)

My niece is a medical professional in Texas tells me that the medical establishment in that state has been urging Governor Rick Perry and the Republican legislature to accept the Medicaid expansion for over a year and explaining the consequences of not doing so.  At some point the pressure will build to put ideology aside and do the right thing but how many will die before that happens.

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  • StockBoyLA

    “… their states will lose billions of dollars in federal money”

    That’s one way to cut federal spending, which coincidentally enough is another primary GOP aim.

  • petew

    Too bad,they cloak this desire to destroy the ACA in the guise of some great ideological principle intended to protect Americans from the scourge of Obamacare. But since only the upper 2% of American wage earners, will be required to pay virtually all the taxes associated with the new Law, what it really boils down to is the same old greed and power plays that have been the primary focus of Republicans for many years.

    While we all know that it is a natural feeling to hold onto ones hard earned (or cleverly invested money) when that result depends on the health and well-being of millions of Americans, this is no longer an acceptable premise.

    I know that most political acts are rationalized as being necessary and just— when they are seen through the eyes of differing ideologies—but when rationalizations become so egregious, it is time for ourselves and the many members of the Press, to expose the underbelly of the beast, and read the GOP the riot act, over and over again!

  • @petew
    You are right. It will cost someone like Romney, who makes about 20 million a year over a quarter of a million dollars. People like the Koch brothers will have to pay millions.

  • SteveK

    It will cost someone like Romney, who makes about 20 million a year over a quarter of a million dollars.

    A whole 1.25% of his income… No wonder he’s so upset. [/snark]

    A quarter of a million dollars from someone making $20 M is peanuts!

    It in numbers easier to understand:

    1.25% of a median income ($39,336) = $491.70.
    1.25% of a poverty line wage ($11,490) = $172.35.

  • PATRICK EDABURN, Assistant Editor

    I’m no fan of these governors and want access for all to health care.

    But I’m also not a fan of the flaws in the ACA, such as treating all businesses the same, regardless of income, in terms of taxes, fees, etc.

    But these governors are wrong.

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