The Affordable Care Act offers money to expand Medicaid services in all 50 states. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court ruled that states were not required to accept the federal funds necessary to expand Medicaid services and up to 25 states, all with Republican governors and/or Republican majority legislatures have refused these supplemental funds to increase coverage.
Now a new study by "Harvard and CUNY researchers" estimates that the failure to expand Medicaid benefits in those states will result in thousands of unnecessary deaths because millions of people will forego necessary medical treatments because they will not have acces to healthcare coverage. Coverage that would have been available to them had those GOP politicians chosen to accept the federal supplemental funding for Medicaid expansion:
Based on recent data from the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment, we predict that many low-income women will forego recommended breast and cervical cancer screening; diabetics will forego medications, and all low-income adults will face a greater likelihood of depression, catastrophic medical expenses, and death. Disparities in access to care based on state of residence will increase. Because the federal government will pay 100 percent of increased costs associated with Medicaid expansion for the first three years (and 90 percent thereafter), opt-out states are also turning down billions of dollars of potential revenue, which might strengthen their local economy.
The ACA’s tax subsidy for insurance purchase on the Exchanges is only available to persons with incomes above 100 percent of FPL. People below this threshold in opt-out states (the so-called low-income “coverage gap”) will see no benefit as the law goes into effect. They may even see harm because the ACA cuts disproportionate share (DSH) funding to safety net hospitals, reducing the resources available to care for the remaining uninsured. [...]
We estimate the number of deaths attributable to the lack of Medicaid expansion in opt-out states at between 7,115 and 17,104. Medicaid expansion in opt-out states would have resulted in 712,037 fewer persons screening positive for depression and 240,700 fewer individuals suffering catastrophic medical expenditures. Medicaid expansion in these states would have resulted in 422,553 more diabetics receiving medication for their illness, 195,492 more mammograms among women age 50-64 years and 443,677 more pap smears among women age 21-64. Expansion would have resulted in an additional 658,888 women in need of mammograms gaining insurance, as well as 3.1 million women who should receive regular pap smears.
Why did these states chose to opt out? One reason only, the desire of GOP politicians to eviscerate the benefits to their constituents (and also to their local economies - small businesses as well as hospital and healthcare systems) in order to claim that the ACA failed to deliver on its promises. It certainly isn't for economic reasons:
With fourteen states opting out, we estimate that 3.6 million fewer people would be insured, federal transfer payments to those states could fall by $8.4 billion [note: this was before an additional 11 states chose to reject federal funding for Medicaid expansion, so these numbers are already too low], and state spending on uncompensated care could increase by $1 billion in 2016, compared to what would be expected if all states participated in the expansion.
Unfortunately, millions of Americans must suffer so these Republicans can falsely claim "Obamacare" is a failure. As more and more studies show, the actions of these Republican officials, both on the national and state level, to deny their fellow citizens health care coverage, thus shifting the financial costs to their constituents is the real failure.
The "Right to Life" party? Just another empty slogan brought to you by people who don't care if millions of people are denied even a bare minimum of health care coverage. Increased death and suffering by our fellow Americans, people of all races (predominantly poor white people I might add, not that it matters other than the fact the GOP political figures have consistently implied these benefits are primarily provided to lazy, shiftless, big guvmint mooching non-whites) all to score political points? What a surprise.
I'm sorry if you need healthcare coverage but will not receive it simply because you live in a state where the Republicans have chosen to refuse to expand Medicaid. The fact that millions of you that will fit into this category are children makes the actions of these Republican officials even more despicable, immoral and just downright evil.
Maybe some of the poor and lower middle class people who vote for these Republicans in opt-out states ought to reconsider who really is looking out for their interests. Because, thought the ACA is not perfect, the major reason people in those states won't be seeing any benefit from it is a direct result of voting for Republicans at the state level.