Sunday, October 26, 2014

Scott Walker Made The WRONG Decision On Medicaid Expansion

Today, again, we have a great example of what's wrong with the Republicans, their distorted reality, and the mix of the two in prescribing ill-conceived and inequitable public policy.

Scott Walker made the right decision on Medicaid expansion, opines Brett Healy of the John MacIver Institute (a right-wing group of hacks similar to the Heritage Foundation or the American Enterprise Institute).

As usual, Healy and his closed-minded ilk are all wrong.

The facts are in: states that went along with the Medicaid expansion have controlled costs better and insured more citizens. States that rejected Medicaid expansion have lost billions. Even the states that rejected Medicaid expansion have seen many of their constituents sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

As the Star Tribune reported:
The state's Medicaid program, known as BadgerCare, covers about 782,000 people, most of them children. Costing state taxpayers about $4.6 billion, it is the second most-expensive item in the current two-year budget, accounting for 15 percent of total spending, behind only aid to schools. 
Walker took a unique approach to the Medicaid issue, breaking from other Republican governors in states like Ohio, New Jersey, and Michigan, who accepted the Medicaid money. 
Walker lowered Medicaid eligibility from those earning 200 percent of poverty to just 100 percent. The federal money would have paid for coverage for those earning up to 138 percent of poverty. 
Instead, nearly 63,000 people lost Medicaid because he installed tighter income requirements — those earning less than $11,670 for an individual and $23,850 for a family of four qualified. If he had accepted the federal money, individuals earning up to $15,421 and families of four making up to $31,721 would have qualified.
By refusing Medicaid Expansion, the White House estimates 120,000 Wisconsinites will go without coverage.

The 20 states choosing not to expand their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act are forgoing billions of dollars in federal funds, while residents in their states are contributing to the cost of the expansions in other states, according to a new Commonwealth Fund study.

After taking into account federal taxes paid by state residents, states with the highest net losses include Texas, which will see a net loss of $9.2 billion in 2022; Florida, which will lose $5 billion; Georgia, which will lose $2.9 billion, and Virginia, which will lose $2.8 billion.
Wisconsin will lose $1.848 billion, according to the study.

The Census Bureau found, "New data released by the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey shows that among the eleven major metropolitan areas with uninsured rates higher than the national average, seven of them are in states that have not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act."

"Harvard and CUNY researchers say death toll from 25-state ‘opt-out’ may be as high as 17,100 annually; hundreds of thousands more will be harmed by depression, untreated diabetes, and skipping mammograms and pap smears," said the Physicians for a National Health Program.

Bill Moyers informed, "The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute released a study showing that the 24 states that have refused to expand their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act will miss out on $423 billion in federal health care dollars through 2022."

Here again, with regard to public policy, the Republicans are marching around the country misrepresenting reality and harming millions of Americans in the process. The same people they keep claiming their policies are helping. When will American voters learn - Republicans don't have your best interest at heart.

For Further Reading:
States forgo billions by opting out of Medicaid expansion
GOP States Give Up $423 Billion By Rejecting Medicaid Expansion
Rejection of Medicaid expansion costing Kansas, Missouri hospitals billionsStates Are Turning Down an Insane Amount of Free Money by Refusing to Expand MedicaidThe 23 States That Have Declined Medicaid Expansion Are Spending $152 Billion For Nothing

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