My heart goes out to the residents of the areas affected by tornadoes and flooding in Texas, Oklahoma, and Mexico. I have heard some heartbreaking stories of loss of lives and of destruction of property. People have been washed away right in front of the eyes of their loved ones. That's the type of horror from which one cannot ever recover; at least not anytime soon.
At least 35 people-- 14 in northern Mexico, 15 in Texas plus six in Oklahoma -- have died in the severe weather, both tornadoes and flooding from raging rivers. Another nine people are missing.RIP to those gone too soon. Condolences to their loved ones. We encourage help to those who are in need.
I watched and listened as CNN - with the inevitable and much-abused "breaking news" banner - covered the unfolding horror in the cities of Wharton, Texas, with their population of 8,756, and Wimberley, Texas, with a population of 2582.
As I watched the frenzied activities surrounding the devastating after-effects of the tornadoes and flooding; the amount of justifiable coverage, it dawned on me that we should have at least the same amount of time, attention, and coverage devoted to the Republican's refusal to accept a program that was designed to prevent deaths. Where was the coverage of the 9000 who died in Texas last year?
According to reputable, peer-reviewed sources, approximately 9,000 people will die this year because Texas Republican Governors have refused to expand the Medicaid Expansion Program (MEP):
Lack of insurance will certainly mean more deaths. How many more? Approximately 9,000 a year, according to Dr. Howard Brody, director of the Institute for Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Brody calculated that figure by extrapolating from a recent Harvard University study published in The New England Journal of Medicine that found that states that expanded Medicaid saw a 6.1 percent reduction in the death rate among adults below 65 who qualified for the program. In a recent op-ed in the Galveston Daily News Brody wrote, “This means that we can predict, with reasonable confidence, if we fail to expand Medicaid . . . 9,000 Texans will die each year for the next several years as a result.”Wimberley and Wharton have a combined population of 11,338.
Mother nature's fury is visited on the just and the unjust, rich and the poor, Republicans and Democrats; she doesn't discriminate.
Republican governors, on the other hand, single out and victimize the poor and the voiceless. GOP governors have, by their inaction, condemned what amounts to whole towns of people to their premature and preventable deaths. Those who do not die will suffer. Losing eyesight, losing limbs due to complications from diabetes, suffer strokes and heart attacks, or will become bankrupt.
The horror of the consequences of not accepting the MEP should be breaking news all day every day. People are suffering right now. People are dying right now.
So okay, we have been saying this same thing for about four months now.
Why are we doing this FOIA series? Just what do we hope to achieve? Where are we going?
Our simple objective is to get GOP Govenors to accept the Medicaid Expansion Program. We have asked nicely. We have asked angriliy. We begged and pleaded, all to no avail. Do you think these heartless, dishonorable governors can be shamed into doing the right thing? It's worth a try, we say.
We are rapidly coming up on the shaming phase of our project.
Once we have rounded up all the responses, we plan to send press releases to the media. It will be interesting to see how these governors respond once the media begins asking the following questions: How many people are needlessly dying in your state because you will not Expand Medicaid? How many people have had to file for bankruptcy because you will not Expand Medicaid? What have you done to find out the answers to these questions?We have sent out the FOIA requests and gotten back some responses (see green chart, below). We now know that the Republican governors and legislatures have done Jack Squat to keep keep track of the people who have died or are dying because of their wickedness.
Will you help us build up a media storm on behalf of our poor?