If there is one thing a voter never expects of their representatives is that they would deliberately inflict harm leading to deaths of their constituents, but this is 21st Century America and Republicans have demonstrated they will go to extraordinary lengths to create hazardous conditions for the people they were elected to serve. Republicans will even spread blatant lies about policies created to protect Americans to instill fear in the public even though their fear-mongering lies never come to pass, but one of the greatest lies Republicans have ever told about health care reform is coming true regardless the lie was deemed the “lie of the year” in 2009.
According to perennial idiot Sarah Palin, “seniors and the disabled will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care.” The cruel twist is that in a sense Palin was right; seniors, the disabled, and the poor have stood in front of Republican death panels that decided they are not worthy of healthcare because Republicans rejected a major component of the Affordable Care Act. According to a recently published report, Republican governors and legislatures will be responsible for sentencing thousands of their constituents to death every year due to lack of medical care and the GOP’s intense hatred of President Obama.
A Harvard Medical School team of researchers recently published a report, “Opting Out Of Medicaid Expansion: The Health And Financial Impacts,” that calculated the body count in Republican states rejecting free Medicaid expansion for millions of Americans because they hate the Affordable Care Act more than they care about their residents. According to the Harvard report, Rick Perry will be responsible for up to 3,000 Texans’ deaths every year, Florida governor Rick Scott will have 2,221 Floridians’ deaths on his watch, Nathan Deal will help kill 1,176 Georgians each year, and North Carolina governor Pat McCrory will be responsible for 1,145 North Carolinians’ deaths every year. All told, 24 Republican states will kill off up to 17,000 poor Americans every year and the travesty is that the deaths are preventable and the cost of saving their lives to Republican states is nothing.
Before the Affordable Care Act was fully implemented, three organizations, the Urban Institute, Families USA and Harvard Medical School released studies estimating the number of preventable deaths among 50-million uninsured Americans was between 22,000 and 45,000 each year. But according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the death toll would virtually disappear as 25-plus million Americans gained healthcare insurance coverage over the next decade due to the ACA unless they are poor and reside in a Republican-controlled state; especially in the third world Southern United States where healthcare is the worst and GOP governors rejected free Medicaid expansion to show their distaste for the Affordable Care Act.
Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act is a stop-gap measure to assuage the “coverage gap” for Americans too poor to qualify for subsidies to buy healthcare insurance that the Republican Wall Street Journal noted would cover “nearly five million people ages 18 to 64 clustered mainly in the South according to estimates by the Kaiser Family Foundation.” The number is actually nearly 8 million Americans who could have been covered by Medicaid expansion if their Republican leaders were not entrenched in opposition to anything remotely affiliated with the African American President the GOP hates as much as they despise their own constituents. Tragically, Republican states opposed to free Medicaid expansion are not only killing their own residents, they are closing down hospitals people with healthcare insurance will lose access to.
According to a Fitch ratings agency special report released last October titled, “Adverse Expansion: Hospitals, States and Medicaid,” it warned that “Hospitals operating in states not expanding Medicaid, which usually have higher uninsured and poverty rates, will have to absorb the full impact of the ACA reimbursement cuts without the full benefit of increased insured volumes” as a result of better than expected enrollment in private insurance exchanges mandated by the Affordable Care Act. States such as Texas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina that reject expanding Medicaid are among states with highest uninsured and poverty rates, and the most stringent Medicaid eligibility requirements. “Fitch believes hospitals in these states, particularly those with weak payer mixes, will be particularly vulnerable.” For example, in Georgia, as many as 16 hospitals face closure in coming months, and according to the Tennessee Justice Center, “Almost half of the 61 rural hospitals in Tennessee face ‘major cuts or closure’ without Medicaid expansion.” If it was not bad enough Republicans are deliberately closing down hospitals in Southern states, the refusal to take free Medicaid expansion money will hurt hospital workers as much as patients without access to hospitals. Some conservative estimates claim struggling hospitals already laid off 5,000 people since last June in Republican states that refused to expand Medicaid.
To make matters worse, Republican states Texas, Arizona, Alabama, Missouri, Oklahoma and Wyoming refuse to guarantee that insurance companies follow the ACA’s new regulations to protect consumers, and residents of those states already reported encountering insurer abuses thanks to Republican governors. Constituents cannot appeal to the state’s representatives in Congress for assistance with crooked insurance carriers because several Republicans, including Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), announced they will not answer any calls about the Affordable Care Act leaving consumers to fend for themselves by contacting the federal authorities for redress.
Americans get it; Republicans hate President Obama and, by association, his signature healthcare law and are bound and determined to make it as difficult as possible for their constituents to either procure affordable health care insurance or get medical care through Medicaid expansion. The Republicans are so opposed to saving their residents’ lives through Medicaid expansion that they are costing their states certain economic benefits they would likely use for tax cuts for the rich, but at least millions of poor Americans would have basic medical coverage. As despicable and pathetic as Arizona and Ohio’s Republican governors are, they are intelligent enough to see the economic benefits ($400 million surplus in Ohio) of expanding Medicaid and took advantage of the opportunity to both help poor citizens receive medical care and bolster their state coffers. Twenty four other Republican states are bound by spite and will take credit for the body counts as long as they can boast they rejected free healthcare for their residents because it is associated with an African American man occupying the White House.
This is another case of Republican voters, primarily in third world Southern states, who continue electing Republicans deliberately imperiling the lives of their constituents who are willing instruments of their own demise. They, like their Republican heroes, are so driven by racial animus and void of self-preservation or regard for their loved ones it is likely they cheered wildly upon news their state was one of 24 that would be responsible for the deaths of thousands by showing Obama the prospect of dying due to lack of medical care was a worthy way of demonstrating racism. One might understand Republicans’ fear of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion because they knew it would be a success and save countless thousands of innocent American lives; especially the poor. However, it is telling they knowingly plagued their states with a completely unnecessary death toll that has nothing to do with economics and everything to do with malice for an African American President their poor constituents will pay for with their lives in mostly Southern states with Republican death panels producing body counts in the thousands every year.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.