By Paul Levy
First Posted at Not Running a Hospital on 5/20/2013
One of the signs of political sickness in America is the degree to which some Republican governors, apparently out of sheer spite for President Obama, have decided to be both stupid and cruel to citizens in their own states. I refer to those governors who have chosen not to permit their Medicaid-eligible residents to participate in the federally funded health care insurance subsidies under Obamacare (aka, Affordable Care Act.)
The Act fills in current gaps in coverage for the poorest Americans by creating a minimum Medicaid income eligibility level across the country. Beginning in 2014 coverage for the newly eligible adults will be fully funded by the federal government for three years. It will phase down to 90% by 2020. People newly eligible for Medicaid will receive a benchmark benefit or benchmark equivalent package that includes the minimum essential benefits provided in the Affordable Insurance Exchanges. The law includes a number of program and funding improvements to help ensure that people can receive long-term care services and supports in their home or the community.
I think there are about a dozen governors who have turned their back on their citizens. Here’s one example from Pennsylvania:
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) announced Tuesday that his state will turn down the Medicaid expansion, becoming the first governor of a blue state to officially say no to the coverage provision of the Affordable Care Act that the Supreme Court made optional.
“At this time, without serious reforms, it would be financially unsustainable for Pennsylvania taxpayers, and I cannot recommend a dramatic Medicaid expansion,” Corbett wrote in a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
The decision will please conservative advocates who are urging leaders to stonewall Obamacare implementation. But it’s a blow to the many thousands of uninsured Pennsylvanians who would have received coverage through the program, which extends Medicaid eligibility to Americans up to 133 percent of the poverty line for participating states.
Something is seriously wrong with these people. They are intentionally creating an uninsured underclass in their states. I hope that the successors to these governors will see the light.