Some of the most important of the moving parts in the Affordable (Health) Care Act have been wrapped in Republican red tape. Under ACA, 14 Million Poor would have been eligible for the expanded Medicaid, which extended it to 138% of the FPA (Federal Poverty Level). That upper limit would mean a Family of Four (let’s say) with an Annual Income of $32,500.
Twenty-five states, mostly Republican-controlled ones in the South, and generally including many of the poorer states, turned down the Medicaid Expansion. Remember that the Federal Government would pay for 100% of the expense for the first three years, and 90% thereafter. In some of those states, in fact, the regular FPL upper limit to be eligible for Medicaid is much lower than even 100% of the FPL.
Once again, many of the states that are refusing the expansion are the vey same ones that turned-down the Stimulus Payments that the Administration offered them in 2009. So, that means that 4.8 Million Poor Americans, almost One Million of whom live in Texas alone, will remain Uninsured when, if they had lived in one of the states that had accepted Medicaid Expansion, would be covered. Luck of the draw, huh?
There are two other “whammies” that many of those state governments have also thrown at their Citizenry: they are turning down the return of money which had been sent to Washington through it’s own residents’ Taxes; and many whose incomes would place them below the upper limit of the Expanded FPL, will not qualify for subsidized rates on Health Care coverage, because the Law was drafted with the presumption that the Expansion would be required of every state.
Before you shake your finger at President Barack Obama, however, direct it at the U. S. Supreme Court, which eliminated the Medicaid Expansion requirement from the ACA and made it optional on a state-by-state basis. So, the states who have turned-down the Medicaid Expansion, and actually sued to take it to the SCOTUS are now withholding Health Care Coverage for many of their Poor. And guess what, when these same people get sick and go to the Emergency Room, for their Health Care–then often at an advanced seriousness–the expense will be paid for by Taxpayers of that very same state.
That means that even the residents of those states who DO have Health Insurance should be concerned that they are paying for their state’s ideological denial to do the right thing. This gives a whole new meaning to the term: “cutting off your nose to spite your face”.
The linked article, from the Washington Post, provides an explanation of this situation, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/12/31/the-wingnut-hole-measured-5-million-without-insurance-thanks-to-gop-medicaid-refusal//?print=1. Also, for more in-depth analysis and statistics, here is the link to the Kaiser Family Foundation web site, http://kff.org/health-reform/issue-brief/a-closer-look-at-the-uninsured-eligible-for-medicaid/.