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The Koch Brothers Are Spending Millions to Deny Poor Americans Healthcare
One should be wary of assigning the word evil to another human being because it means they are profoundly immoral and guilty of not conforming to conduct established as consistent with principles of personal and social ethics. Evil, or immoral, people would likely cause pain, suffering, and even death to another human being for pleasure, or withhold assistance to a person in distress regardless it would be of no consequence or cost to them. Unfortunately, America is home to two of the most evil men on the planet. It is difficult to imagine any American spending their money to deny medical care to an infirm American they have no connection to or personal hatred for, but Charles and David Koch are spending money to deny poor Americans healthcare for no readily apparent reason except the Kochs are genuinely evil, immoral men devoid of personal or social ethics.
Recently there has been encouraging news for residents of states with Republican governors because they are accepting the Affordable Care Acts’ Medicaid expansion provisions to provide the poorest Americans with healthcare. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is the latest Republican to accept the Medicaid expansion plan that takes effect on January 1, 2014 and is fully funded by the federal government for three years. After three years federal funding begins phasing down to no less than 90% by 2020. States would be left with a minimal investment (10%) after 2020 to provide healthcare for hundreds-of-thousands of poor Americans who would be without medical care without the expansion.
Brewer, who is not normally recognized for her compassion, spoke at a rally to garner support for her decision and cited her reasons for embracing expansion that include, broadening eligibility for the poor saves taxpayer money, saves lives, and eases the burden on hospitals caring for uninsured patients. She warned that without expansion, 50,000 Arizonans would lose healthcare coverage after January 1 “even if they’re in the middle of their treatment; the human cost of this tragedy can’t be calculated.” Despite the cost to the state of not expanding Medicaid, one might wonder why Brewer had to rally support to avert an incalculable human tragedy, because any Arizona resident with a modicum of morality would embrace a program providing healthcare to 50,000 poor Arizonans.
Regardless there is no cost to Arizona until at least 2017, and no cost to Charles and David Koch ever, they instructed their front group, Americans for Prosperity, to organize a campaign to oppose Brewer’s attempt at Medicaid expansion. Apparently, the Kochs are not amused when their Republican surrogates oppose their agenda, and especially when they have spent millions to eliminate the ACA and defeat its main proponent, President Obama. The Kochs’ front group Americans for Prosperity organized a campaign to enlist Arizona citizens to fight against their own self-interests to defeat Medicaid expansion, which is also underway in Pennsylvania and Florida courtesy of Americans for Prosperity. In Pennsylvania, for example, AFP intends to deny 542,000 uninsured and poor residents health care coverage, and in Florida, AFP convinced a Republican subcommittee to block Governor Rick Scott’s decision to expand Medicaid leaving Scott with a decision to either obey the Koch brothers, or provide poor Floridians with healthcare using his veto power.
Americans for Prosperity supplied Arizona residents with a typical screed decrying the benefits of providing healthcare to the poor such as “Governor Brewer and powerful lobbyists are pushing Arizona to impose statewide taxes to fund an expansion of Medicaid (AHCCCS) under ObamaCare. It is vitally important for Arizona to stop the proposed Medicaid expansion, because the human and fiscal costs of that expansion would be enormous;” the cost to Arizona is zero for three years and only 10% after 2020. The letter also cited the human costs they claim will “railroad at least 250,000 Arizonans into a low-quality, government-managed health insurance system. Medicaid patients not only have worse medical outcomes than patients with private insurance, but often have worse medical outcomes than low-income persons without insurance.” So, according to Americans for Prosperity, a poor person with no healthcare insurance has better outcomes than patients with medical coverage, and Arizonans who can afford private healthcare insurance will be “railroaded” into Medicaid coverage? These are the same scare tactics opponents of the Affordable Care Act have parroted since 2009, and they are as illogical and false in 2013, as they were nearly four years ago.
A prescient question is; what benefit do the Koch brothers get from preventing Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Florida (among others) from participating in the Medicaid expansion program? Poor people cannot afford private healthcare insurance, so the insurance industry is not losing potential policy holders, and people with private coverage will not qualify for Medicaid coverage so they will not abandon their private policies for no coverage. With no apparent profit motive, it is possible the Kochs are nervous that another government program like Social Security and Medicare will be popular with the people making their “government is a failure” propaganda hard to sell to voters, but it is most likely the Koch brothers are just sheer evil; and greedy. The Koch philosophy is that if government spends any money at all, it should be to enrich the wealthy whether it is in the form of tax breaks for the one-percent, or direct payments to Koch Industries.
It is impossible to find any socially redeeming value in the Koch brothers’ existence, and the damage they wreaked on this nation and its people is immeasurable. They were the driving force behind the Citizens United decision, spend millions promoting climate change denial, celebrated and congratulated Republicans for enacting sequestration cuts, fund the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and fund anti-union efforts in all fifty states. They are connected to every anti-American and anti-democracy effort in the nation, and are hell-bent on controlling and profiting from every aspect of American society whether it is education or politics, and by any measure are evil incarnate. That they actively deny poor Americans basic healthcare, although despicable, is just another aspect of their malicious existence.