Yes, the GOP is responsible for denying millions of Americans access to health care under the ‘Medicaid Gap’


Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

The Rush Limbaugh of the Republic, GOPropagandist hack Doug MacEachern, has his panties all in a bunch about an AP (All Propaganda) report in which the reporter, David Lieb, dared to stray from the GOP narrative that the AP usually provides by actually reporting the truth: ObamaCare is fairing considerably worse in Red States run by Republicans. Newsy report finds Republicans cause of Obamacare woes.

I don't know what alternate reality this hack lives in, but perhaps he hasn't noticed that damn near the entire GOP caucus of the Arizona legislature is in court right now trying to prevent thousands of Arizonans from gaining access to expanded Medicaid (AHCCCS). He could have read about it in the pages of the Republic. Medicaid battle heads to court.

Since this hack only trolls the conservative media entertainment complex for his material, he likely ignored this New York Times report from October about Red State sabotage of the expanded Medicaid provisions of ObamaCare, which has resulted in a GOP-created "Medicaid gap," denying millions of Americans access to health care under "ObamaCare." Millions of Poor Are Left Uncovered by Health Law:

A sweeping national effort to extend health coverage to millions of Americans will leave out two-thirds of the poor blacks and single mothers and more than half of the low-wage workers who do not have insurance, the very kinds of people that the program was intended to help, according to an analysis of census data by The New York Times.

Because they live in states largely controlled by Republicans that have declined to participate in a vast expansion of Medicaid, the medical insurance program for the poor, they are among the eight million Americans who are impoverished, uninsured and ineligible for help. The federal government will pay for the expansion through 2016 and no less than 90 percent of costs in later years.

Those excluded will be stranded without insurance, stuck between people with slightly higher incomes who will qualify for federal subsidies on the new health exchanges that went live this week, and those who are poor enough to qualify for Medicaid in its current form, which has income ceilings as low as $11 a day in some states.


Interactive map Where Poor and Uninsured Americans Live

The 26 states that have rejected the Medicaid expansion are home to about half of the country’s population, but about 68 percent of poor, uninsured blacks and single mothers. About 60 percent of the country’s uninsured working poor are in those states. Among those excluded are about 435,000 cashiers, 341,000 cooks and 253,000 nurses’ aides.

The irony is that these states that are rejecting Medicaid expansion — many of them Southern — are the very places where the concentration of poverty and lack of health insurance are the most acute,” said Dr. H. Jack Geiger, a founder of the community health center model. “It is their populations that have the highest burden of illness and costs to the entire health care system.”

The disproportionate impact on poor blacks introduces the prickly issue of race into the already politically charged atmosphere around the health care law. Race was rarely, if ever, mentioned in the state-level debates about the Medicaid expansion. But the issue courses just below the surface, civil rights leaders say, pointing to the pattern of exclusion.

* * *

The states that did not expand Medicaid have less generous safety nets: For adults with children, the median income limit for Medicaid is just under half of the federal poverty level — or about $5,600 a year for an individual — while in states that are expanding, it is above the poverty line, or about $12,200, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. There is little or no coverage of childless adults in the states not expanding, Kaiser said.

Greg Sargent wrote this week, The consequences of GOP opposition to Obamacare:

As of now, over two dozen states are not opting in to Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, thanks largely to hostility to the law among GOP governors who are turning down huge sums of federal money that could otherwise go towards expanding coverage to their own constituents. Result: untold numbers risk falling into a “Medicaid gap,” making too much to qualify for traditional Medicaid, yet too little to qualify for subsidies on the exchanges.

We now have a new look at the consequences of this: Millions will likely remain uninsured, and racial and geographic disparities in access to coverage will worsen.

Two new studies released by the Kaiser Family Foundation today illustrate this in new detail. You can read them here and here, and they take a close look at who makes up the population of those who fall into the Medicaid gap. The key findings:

* Some 4.8 million uninsured non-elderly American adults nationwide are likely to fall into the Medicaid gap.

* Some 79 percent of those who fall into the Medicaid gap are from the south (where Republican governors have disproportionately decided not to opt in).

* Those falling into the Medicaid gap are disproportionately non-white. Some 53 percent of them are black, Hispanic or “other.”

* Some 47 percent of those falling into the Medicaid gap — over 2.2 million people — are white. If attacks on beneficiaries of the Medicaid expansion as freeloaders and takers have “racial undertones,” as National Journal argued the other day, this is a reminder that huge numbers of poor whites will also be impacted by the refusal of GOP governors to opt into the expansion.

This last finding is relevant to a broader political discussion. As Paul Krugman has noted, if attacks on the safety net are meant to rally downscale whites against Dems, the problem is that many whites benefit from safety net programs such as food stamps and unemployment insurance.

The new Kaiser studies are a reminder that this also applies to the Medicaid expansion. Failure to opt in could mean over two million white Americans fall into the gap. This comes as Republicans are resisting an extension of unemployment benefits and are pushing for far deeper cuts to food stamps than Dems are willing to accept (though they are certainly culpable here, too).

Beyond this, the big story is that failure to opt in could deepen disparities in health coverage across the board. As Kaiser puts it:

These adults will not gain access to a new affordable coverage option and likely remain uninsured. Given their high uninsured rates and low incomes, people of color will be disproportionately impacted by this coverage gap, particularly poor uninsured Black adults residing in the southern region of the country where most states are not moving forward with the expansion. These continued coverage gaps and their varied impacts across groups will result in millions of poor adults remaining uninsured and likely lead to widening racial and ethnic as well as geographic disparities in coverage and access to care.

Sarah Kliff at the Washington Post also reported, Twenty-three states aren’t expanding Medicaid. Here’s who they leave behind.

Twenty-three states are currently not planning to move forward with the Medicaid expansion, which was meant to cover millions of low-income Americans. The population they leave behind is mostly young, minority, single adults, according to two new data briefs from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Their analysis is one of the most in-depth looks at the population that falls into this coverage gap, too poor to qualify for insurance subsidies (those are available only to those who earn above the poverty line, about $12,000 for an individual). They're also shut out of the traditional Medicaid program, which tends to cover low-income parents, children and those with disabilities.


Kaiser estimates that approximately 4.8 million people will fall into this no man's land of health-care reform, where they do have the option to purchase private insurance on the individual market — but would have to do so without any financial help from the government.

Three-quarters of those who will fall into this coverage gap are adults who do not have children. As Kaiser notes, this reflects the limitations on the current Medicaid program. While some states do use the publicly-funded program to cover low-income, single adults, that's the exception rather than the rule. Nine states currently offer coverage to adults, with income limits that range from 10 to 200 percent of the poverty line ($1,1490 to $22,980, respectively).


The coverage gap population is majority minority: 53 percent of those left without financial assistance are either African American, Hispanic or another non-white ethnicity.


Most of them have jobs. Of the 4.8 million people estimated to be in the coverage gap, 2.6 million are working either full- or part-time. Among those working, half are in the agriculture industry. Most work for businesses with fewer than 100 employees, which tend to be less likely to offer insurance coverage.


They skew younger and healthier. Half are under 35; three-quarters describe themselves as being in good, very good or excellent health.


As Kliff concludes, "The health-care law was supposed to offer such protection, but — for these millions of Americans — now it won't."

How's this for a "newsy report" you miserable hack? I can't believe the Arizona Republic in good conscience can justify paying this hack to simply repeat the GOPropaganda talking points he gets from the conservative media entertainment complex each day. The Republic values GOPropaganda over factual news reporting.

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AZ BlueMeanie
The Blue Meanie is an Arizona citizen who wishes, for professional reasons, to remain anonymous when blogging about politics. Armed with a deep knowledge of the law, politics and public policy, as well as pen filled with all the colors stolen from Pepperland, the Blue Meanie’s mission is to pursue and prosecute the hypocrites, liars, and fools of politics and the media – which, in practical terms, is nearly all of them. Don’t even try to unmask him or he’ll seal you in a music-proof bubble and rendition you to Pepperland for a good face-stomping. Read blog posts by the infamous and prolific AZ Blue Meanie here.