During the Democratic convention, I remember tweeting a big thank you to former President Clinton for the attention he gave to Medicaid in his speech. He said, “You won’t be laughing when I finish telling you this… [The GOP wants to] “block grant Medicaid and cut it by a third over the coming 10 years. Of course, that’s going to really hurt a lot of poor kids.”
And today, I’m blogging a big thank you to L.A. Times’s Michael Hiltzik for also focusing on Medicaid, but in much greater detail than Clinton could.
As Hiltzik reminds us, Medicaid “serves the poorest and sickest Americans, those with the fewest healthcare options…. In many cases their financial health depends on Medicaid.” But because of the Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act, the governors of six Southern states say they are rejecting expansion of Medicaid, a controversial part of that law.
Here are a few excerpts from Hiltzik’s column. He starts off by reminding us that the Big Bad Evil Kenyan Marxist government is footing the bill for a few years:
For the first three years of the expansion (2014 through 2016) the federal government will pay 100% of the cost; after that, the federal share declines in steps, reaching 90% in 2020 and sticking there. [...]
The Medicaid expansion rejected by their governors, those outstanding humanitarians Rick Perry and Rick Scott, would provide insurance to as many as 4.2 million residents, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Beth Zachary, chief executive at White Memorial Medical Center, a 360-bed hospital in the L.A. area:
“The cuts could mean not only reduced services for patients, but also job losses in the East L.A. community, from which White does about 30% of its hiring.”
So to put two basic scenarios in perspective from the standpoint of hospitals and clinics in low-income areas: Without the healthcare reform act, their future is untenable. With its implementation minus the Medicaid expansion, their future moves from untenable to catastrophic.
To repeat: Jobs would be lost, services would be cut, lives would be at stake.
Governors Rick Perry, Rick Scott, and Bobby Jindal are apparently more dedicated to their party than to the people they serve, because they’re just not that into you, Medicaid. So it’s up to the providers to give them a firm nudge:
“Ultimately, the pressure these governors get from their provider community will decide whether they take the Medicaid expansion or not,” says Diane Rowland, executive vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation.
In Texas, if you’re part of a one-child family that makes about $4,800 a year, you’re too well off to benefit from Medicaid.
What hangs in the balance of “easy” budget cuts are the economic health of communities, the survival of hospitals in neighborhoods that don’t have enough of them, and the lives of human beings.
So “you people” better figure out a way to recover from illness and injury on your own, because there are a whole lot of Republicans who don’t give a damn about you.