What the Media Won’t Tell You: Millions are Hurting as Red States Reject Medicaid Expansion



While Congressional and national attention has been glued to the HealthCare.gov rollout controversy, the inhumane red state shafting of the voiceless percentage of our society who can’t stuff hundreds of millions into campaign coffers or buy endless TV propaganda, goes on unabated and largely ignored. Legislatures of Neanderthal states, the ones that have, for all practical purposes, seceded from the Union, have denied needy citizens access to a Medicaid expansion program that will be free to the states through 2014 and 2015 and never exceed a 10% state contribution. And the federal money for that expansion is already set aside. Medicaid expansion specifically targets the poor, disabled and uninsured.

In researching several sites, I’ve compiled a list of the states that appear to have rejected any federally funded Medicaid expansion whatsoever. None will surprise you. Alabama always leads the way in these heartless endeavors; not only alphabetically, but in serving as exemplar for any health-related program Blue Cross and Blue Shield and their running partner the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) tell these pathetic elected officials to vote for or against. ALEC also handles all critical non-health care related legislation. This description would apply to virtually all of the other states on this list.

Alphabetically is a handy way to proceed. Next is Alaska. Alaska; even without Palin. Arkansas and Florida are predictably included. Yes, there are more right-wing nuts in the Florida legislature than there are in this year’s crop of oranges. Georgia is on board. ‘Nuff said. There’s Idaho and Indiana, a state that gave the moderate and loyal Republican public servant Richard Lugar the primary boot in favor of Teapublican Richard Mourdock who proceeded to declare during a debate that pregnancies resulting from rape are “something that God intended to happen.” Thanks “DICK.” Democrat Joe Donnelly and the American people were the benefactors of your awesomely thoughtless and ill-considered statement.

Here’s Kansas where right-wing legislators made sure all current efforts to expand were blocked. Now it’s wait until next year when the legislators will do the same thing. Louisiana of course makes the list with Governor Bobby Jindal smooching Tea Party tuchis or tokhis or…well, you get the idea. It’s very revealing that Jindal, in explaining why he opposes the expansion, actually tells the real truth behind the right-wing rejection. It takes business away from private insurers. There’s your answer folks and further proof that giant multi-nationals call the shots. Take care of the contributors who give your campaign the big money, not the constituents who genuinely need help. And the easily manipulated Jindal, who wants to be president next time around or, at the very least VP, follows the script.

Maine Governor

Continuing with our parade of heartless states. There’s Maine, a somewhat surprising entry to this lineup of haters. Maine’s inclusion is largely due to a scary looking right-wing, corporate-owned, anti-environment Republican governor, Paul LePage. The legislature’s heart was in the right (as in correct) place, but LePage vetoed legislation allowing for the expansion, insisting there were already too many recipients of Medicaid on the state program. So let’s just let the estimated 77,000 potential qualifiers suffer in the gutter, right Paul? What would you expect from a guy whose face is a perpetual grimace and who has told the NAACP to “Kiss my butt.” Oh, and he claims “Obama hates white people.”

Why look, Mississippi is on the list. I won’t join the hordes in picking on this sad imbroglio of largely narrow-minded and extremist citizens. Phil Bryant is known as the “first Tea Party governor.” There are pockets of civil humans emerging, so, far be it from me, to mock Mississippi whose state bird is the mockingbird. Hot on the heels of Mississippi is Missouri. No deal for at least a year. Two-term Democratic Governor Jay Nixon, was fairly successful in bipartisan efforts first time around; not so much with the current Teapublican legislature that told him to pound sand in a state rife with anti-ACA and expansion sentiment. Yes, the “Show me” state has shown me how uncaring it is in leaving 250,000 of their number to fend for themselves till further notice, maybe next year.

Montana’s Steve Bullock is another Democratic governor laboring to bring a Republican legislature to its senses. It didn’t work in the case of Medicaid Expansion so add another 70,000 to the rolls of people Teapublicans couldn’t care less about. “It would ruin the budget” naysayers cried. Yeah, ‘free’ ruins budgets. In fact, recalcitrant states are foregoing billions in fed funding and will still have to spend at least some of there own money on the indigent unless they want their motorists dodging skeletons in the street.

In Nebraska, a mid-year Senate vote fell short of ending a Teapublican filibuster, thereby killing expansion efforts for this year. Some 60,000 to 80,000 people would have benefited had expansion been approved. Democrats have pledged to keep up the good fight, beginning again in 2014. We now come to New Hampshire. There’s weirdness going on here. Democratic Governor, Maggie Hassan tried the bipartisan route. The “my way or the highway” crowd initially prevailed but there does seems to be a move toward at least partial acceptance between the Teapublican-led Senate and the Democratic House with two bills that are a mish-mosh of public and private insurance combinations.

A November 21st vote will supposedly sort things out with private insurance sure to play a major role. North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin (a state that would gift us with Paul Ryan can easily disregard the health and fiscal needs of the poor and disabled) and Wyoming round out the list. No expansion takers here in the South or the other Teapublican states that purport to follow the bible literally until it comes to the absolute core of biblical teachings that emphasize aiding the poor and infirm. But Teapublicans, especially Southern Teapublicans, aren’t accepting of that interpretation if it involves an Obama administration initiative like ACA or the expansion of Medicaid.

So that leaves Utah. Are there any Democrats in the Utah state House or Senate? Not many. And Governor Gary Herbert is one of them dad-blame Teapublicans too. The Utah supermajority is presently in no mood to help out over 120,000 poor residents who would be eligible for expanded benefits. The governor is putting the question on hold until January of 2014.

To give you a hint of the depth of Teapublican intellect residing in the Utah state assembly, consider these musings from District 6 House member Jake Anderegg representing the Provo metro burg of Lehi that numbers less than 50 African Americans in a population of 23,000 or so. I suspect Anderegg fears that some Utah blacks might benefit from the expansion and that would never do.

Here’s what young greenhorn Anderegg had to say about Medicaid expansion: Taking federal money is “like eating your foot because you think there’s protein there. At the end of the day, it’s still your foot your eating.”

Is that why you put your foot in your mouth Jake?

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