Opting out of human decency
Readers of this blog know that I have long been anguished over the Medicaid provisions of the law. Insuring large numbers of the working poor was the main incentive for progressives to support the bill, but it was always been obvious that the funding of it was the most vulnerable part. The Supremes’ decision that states could drop out was just another layer of insecurity for a group of people who desperately need health insurance and will now wind up in limbo.
The greatest irony, of course, is this:
The states least likely to join in the Medicaid expansion also happen to be among those whose residents are in the greatest need. The poor and uninsured in these parts of the U.S. will likely continue to go without unless their political leaders have changes of heart.
Texas had the highest rate of uninsurance in the nation last year: 24 percent, according to census data compiled by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. In Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Louisiana, it was 20 percent. Nineteen percent of Mississippians were uninsured in 2011. Nationally, 16 percent of people had no health insurance last year. In Massachusetts, which enacted a comprehensive health care reform program in 2006, only 4 percent of residents are uninsured.
In Kansas things are still undecided, but it appears that Brownback is leaning towards Opt out:
Health care advocates in Kansas on Friday called on Gov. Sam Brownback to accept a federal expansion of Medicaid coverage for some low-income residents.
More than 75 people attended a rally at the Statehouse, arguing the expansion would help about 130,000 Kansas residents who lack health insurance. Approximately 393,000 residents now receive health coverage through Medicaid, the government health care program for the poor.
Anna Lambertson , executive director of the Kansas Health Care Coalition, said leaving so many people without coverage was unjustified when the federal government was offering to pick up most of the cost.
‘That’s simply unacceptable. We need to fix this,’ she said.
Also see my post on Kancare here.