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It's like trying to argue how old the earth is, or whether global warming is accelerated because of human activity. No matter the evidence to the contrary, mainstream Republican thinking refuses to acknowledge that we have an essentially non-existent health care system in the U.S. if you're poor, and a pretty shitty one unless you're lucky enough to have a good job with benefits, or lots of money. So it isn't a big surprise that Mississippi's Republican Gov. Phil Bryant would say this:
BRYANT: Medicaid was meant to be a temporary [stop]gap for providing you medical treatment while you are looking for a job. Now we are saying, you can have a job and still receive Medicaid. So we have changed the whole dynamic. There is very little incentive for those 940,000 people on Medicaid to find a better job, or to go back to school, or to get [into] a workforce training program because they say: Look, if I go over $33,000, [I] will lose Medicaid. There is no one who doesn’t have health care in America. No one. Now, they may end up going to the emergency room. There are better ways to deal with people that need health care than this massive new program.
Setting aside the fact that a good portion of Mississippi's Medicaid population is either children or elderly people in nursing homes who won't be getting jobs no matter what the incentive, it is particularly tone-deaf of the governor of that state, the one that leads the nation in poverty, to make this statement. Mississippi doesn't have the largest uninsured population among the states—Texas still has that distinction—but at 17 percent it's still pretty deplorable. That's 17 percent of Bryant's constituency that he's completely written off.
Being able to pretend that nearly a fifth of his population isn't really without health care is how Bryant justifies refusing to set up a health insurance exchange or expanding Medicaid under Obamacare. Making a huge portion of his state suffer is nothing if it provides him the opportunity to reinforce his far-right bona fides.
Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 02:32 PM PST.