Elderly patient sitting beside empty hospital bed.
Sadly, the states that have the greatest need to expand Medicaid also have the Republican leaders who are refusing to participate. That's according to an analysis from the Los Angeles Times, which states health data to determine levels of coverage and overall health status in the states.
Colon cancer deaths in states opposing Medicaid expansion, for example, are an average of 16% higher than in pro-expansion states, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis of state health data.

Deaths from breast cancer are 8% higher on average in anti-expansion states. And adults under 65 are 40% more likely on average to have lost six or more teeth from decay, infection or gum disease. [...]

Yet most state leaders who are fighting the Medicaid expansion have advanced few alternative plans to tackle their states' health shortfalls. That means that, at least in the short term, America's unhealthiest states could fall even further behind as theAffordable Care Act is implemented.

"Many states may be missing a real opportunity to reduce some of the big differences we see across the country in health," said Cathy Schoen, a health economist at the nonprofit Commonwealth Fund who has studied variations between states.

The residents of many of those states, those in the Deep South, would dearly love to see Medicaid expansion, a new survey suggests. Families USA polled in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina—all states where Republicans governors and legislatures have rejected the expansion—and found that 62 percent of respondents in those states support Medicaid expansion.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue May 21, 2013 at 12:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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