My favorite columnist at the Los Angeles Times, Michael Hiltzik (scroll), has written another excellent piece, this time covering anti-Obamacare Republicans and their deadly and perplexing fight against Medicaid expansion.
Here is what Medicaid could do to keep the neediest Americans alive and well:
The final battle of the war over the Affordable Care Act is being waged today over expanding Medicaid. As the act was originally conceived, Medicaid would provide healthcare for more than 10 million of the poorest uninsured Americans, most of them childless adults with earnings up to 138% of the federal poverty level. (This year, that income ceiling is about $16,000.)
But then along came the Roberts Supreme Court to make Medicaid expansion voluntary, aiding and abetting GOP-run states in their quest to destroy all things President Obama. This "amazes and frustrates health experts. That's especially so because the federal government covers 100% of the cost of expansion through 2016. After that, the federal share will slowly decline to 90% in 2020 and beyond."
Talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth:
What's most curious about states with Republican leaders ostensibly devoted to fiscal responsibility is that shunning Medicaid expansion makes no budgetary sense, given the huge federal financial commitment and the potential for reducing other state costs, including the public cost of treating uninsured patients.
Hiltzik goes into detail about how various states are handling health care coverage. At the end of his piece, he confirms what many of us have observed over the past few months-- that those self-professed "pro-life" Repeal, Repeal, Repealers are fighting a futile war and are losing.
But their fight is costing lives: Their own political lives, and sadly, the lives of those who need a helping hand in order to survive:
What we are witnessing are the death throes of the anti-Obamacare crowd. Expanded access to health coverage is here to stay. The GOP's resistance to expanding Medicaid has merely turned 5 million Americans into refugees from ideological warfare, awaiting the moment when peace offers them a chance at better health.