While Republicans are trying to blame the problems at the VA on President Obama, the real scandal is that the Republican refusal to expand Medicaid in 23 states has left 258,6000 veterans without healthcare.
According to a 2013 Urban Institute study:
Analysis of the 2008-2010 American Community Survey (ACS) indicates that 535,000 uninsured veterans and 174,000 uninsured spouses of veterans—or four in 10 uninsured veterans
and one in four uninsured spouses—have incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) and could qualify for Medicaid or new subsidies for coverage under the Affordable
Care Act (ACA).
Most of these uninsured—414,000 veterans and 113,000 spouses—have incomes below 100 percent of FPL, and will therefore only have new coverage options under the ACA if their state expands Medicaid. However, fewer than half live in states in which the governor supports their state participating in the expansion, while the majority live in states that have chosen not to expand Medicaid or have not yet decided whether to expand. The extent to which uninsured veterans and their family members with incomes below the FPL will have access to new
coverage options under the ACA will depend on whether they live in a state that adopts the Medicaid expansion.
Pew used the Urban Institute data, and the state by state neglect of veterans on this map:
The real scandal is that Republicans continue to deny over a quarter million veterans healthcare because they think it is good politics to oppose Obamacare. The 258,000 number is a bit of an underestimate, because it does not include the tens of thousands of thousands of spouses and children who are also being denied healthcare.
Republicans can try to make the bipartisan issues at VA an Obama scandal, but if they really cared about veterans they be demanding that the states that haven’t expanded Medicaid do so right away.
Blaming Obama isn’t going to get Republicans out of this one. For the last two years, congressional Republicans have voted against bills that would have created jobs, and provided better healthcare for our vets. House Republicans even voted to throw 170,000 veterans off of food stamps.
The great hypocrisy is that while Republicans are blaming President Obama for the VA, they refusing to provide hundreds of thousands of veterans and their families healthcare. They can wave the flag all they want, but when the rubber hits the road, Republicans have repeatedly betrayed our veterans.
It is tragic that any veteran died while waiting for care from the VA, but how many veterans are dying or losing family members because Republicans refuse to expand Medicaid?
That is a question that Republicans don’t want to have to answer.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association
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