On The Rachel Maddow Show Thursday night, Rachel discussed an AP story that was published earlier in the day showing that the rate of participation in the online insurance marketplaces was much higher in Democratic leaning states that are running their own online exchanges and have expanded Medicaid compared to Republican controlled states that have refused both to run their own exchanges or accept additional Medicaid funds. Below is an excerpt from the AP story:
Newly released federal figures show more people are picking private insurance plans or being routed to Medicaid programs in states with Democratic leaders who have fully embraced the federal health care law than in states where Republican elected officials have derisively rejected what they call “Obamacare.”
On one side of the political divide are a dozen mostly Democratic leaning states, including California, Minnesota and New York. They have both expanded Medicaid for lower-income adults and started their own health insurance exchanges for people to shop for federally subsidized private insurance.
On the other side are two dozen conservative states, such as Texas, Florida and Missouri. They have both rejected the Medicaid expansion and refused any role in running an online insurance exchange, leaving that entirely to the federal government.
The new federal figures, providing a state-by-state breakdown of enrollment in the new health care program through November, showed that the political differences among leaders over the initiative are turning into differences in participation among the uninsured.
To those who have been paying attention, this should come as absolutely no shock. From the get go, Republican governors and state legislatures have played ball and made sure to follow lockstep with GOP leaders in Washington by making it as difficult as possible for the uninsured in their states to get coverage through the ACA. By refusing to create their own exchanges, they forced the federal website to handle far more visitors than was initially expected. Meanwhile, by refusing to expand Medicaid, they have heartlessly allowed the working poor in their states to continue to go without health insurance when they could easily be covered through virtually no cost to the states.
What is really remarkable here is that a VAST majority of the 1.2 million that have been able to obtain coverage in the first two months of the ACA’s rollout come from a small percentage of the states in this country. Below is a chart that Rachel used on her show Thursday night showing that wide disparity between blue and red states:
What is truly remarkable is just how hard certain states are fighting to prevent their citizens from obtaining health insurance for purely ideological reasons. Missouri, for instance, has made it illegal for the state to actually create an online marketplace, when they quietly put a confusingly worded initiative on the ballot during last year’s Presidential elections. Texas, which has the the nation’s largest population of uninsured residents, has actively pushed against the ACA from the outset, led by outgoing Governor, and laughably bad 2012 Presidential candidate, Rick Perry. In the hugely populated state, only about 14,000 have signed up for an insurance plan through the end of November and less than 17,000 have been deemed eligible for Medicaid.
The one huge point that needs to be hammered home again and again and again is that millions and millions of Americans would already be signed up for insurance or be covered by Medicaid if Republicans would have just accepted the law instead of trying to sabotage it at every turn. The fact that 1.2 million got coverage by the end of last month is miraculous when you consider the roadblocks that were laid in place. The sad fact is that if you currently live in a state that is mostly controlled by Democrats, it is quite easy to get covered. If you are in a state controlled by Republicans, it is much more difficult for you to get coverage for no other reason than the people governing your state, as well as the majority of citizens occupying it, just plain hate the President.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).