Take a close look at that chart, from this month's issue brief
by the Kaiser Family Foundation. That shows how many people in the Medicaid gap in the states that didn't expand Medicaid under Obamacare are employed at least part time: 66 percent
are in a family where someone works and 54 percent are working themselves. So keep in mind that the majority of people who would be covered by Medicaid expansion in the red states are working or live in families that have at least one person working.
Now, read this report from Politico about the governors in some of those red states who are considering expansion but won't do it unless they can shame their low-income citizens.
In Indiana, Florida, Utah, and at least eight other GOP-dominated states, either the governor or state lawmakers have sought to tie Medicaid to work. Supporters see it as a way of taming a health care entitlement they regard as excessively costly and riddled with fraud and abuse.
Arkansas’ Asa Hutchison is one GOP governor who is striving to find a way to keep the millions of dollars flowing to his state under its version of expansion—now covering around 230,000 people—amid demands of conservatives. He’s open to a work requirement.
"This is supposed to be an incentive and encouragement for people to work versus an incentive for people to just receive the government benefit and not be part of a working culture of Arkansas," Hutchison told POLITICO during a recent interview about Medicaid in the state Capitol.
His fellow Republican Gov. Gary Herbert of Utah put it this way: "I wanted to be able to say, 'If you want the taxpayers to fund your health care, then you need to go out and be involved in a work program, no ifs, ands or buts.' I've been accused by the Obama administration: 'Well, you're trying to turn this health care program into a work program.' And I've said, 'You're right.'"
Most of these people are already working, assholes. How about instead of trying to embarrass them further for being poor, you work on embarrassing their employers for refusing to provide them health insurance or refusing to pay enough that they can buy it with Obamacare subsidies? And why isn't the fact that most people who would qualify for Medicaid who are now in the gap are working the beginning point in any discussion about Medicaid expansion and work requirements?
To Politico's credit, they do report (about 15 paragraphs in) that the majority of these people work, and add that among "those who don’t work, about a third said they were taking care of a home or family member, 20 percent were looking for work, and 17 percent were mentally ill or disabled." They point out that those numbers are close to the national labor force participation rate. There's a reason why this population is called the "working poor." Because they are working!
The Obama administration is standing tough on this one. While they're happy to work with states to coordinate job services with people applying for Medicaid, Obama's Medicaid Director Vikki Wachino says, "Medicaid is a health coverage program," and "requiring employment may not be a condition of eligibility." Adding any kind of work requirement (which is clearly redundant for the majority of these folks) or time limit or any other restriction subverts the goal of the law: getting people insured and bringing down the costs of health care for states and for the country. Health care isn't welfare. Period.