Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Louisianians rush to stay healthy...go figure.

It always seemed odd to me when I heard Republicans complain about people using expanded Medicaid coverage in their states. Ah, that’s what it was supposed to do?

It also seemed odd to hear conservatives say “I told you so” when the media reports that people are seeing their doctors more often, supposedly over using their Medicaid services. Ah, maybe they were literally dying to see a doctor, or get treatment, or get a prescription? Just saying.

The Boston Globe featured this article today that explains just how important health care is to Americans everywhere, and to our economy in general. Louisiana is an incredible example of what a Democratic governor, doing Democratic things, can do:  
Louisiana voters elected John Bel Edwards governor (the only Democrat governor in the Deep South). Edwards noted that Louisiana “consistently ranked one of the poorest and unhealthiest states.  (Access to Medicaid) will not only afford them peace of mind, but also to help prevent them from slipping further into poverty and give them a fighting chance for a better life.”
Here's a list of facts you can use against your right-wing friends:
1. Edwards’s predecessor, Bobby Jindal, rejected the measure on the grounds – and I’m not making this up – that expanding access would “jeopardize the care of the most vulnerable in our society.”

2. The impact of Edwards’s executive order is being felt across the state. The law is having a transformative effect … “Patients burst into tears at this city’s glistening new charity hospital when they learned they could get Medicaid health insurance,” Noam Levey reported. One doctor said telling patients that they were eligible for health care coverage – something most of us take for granted — was like telling them, “I cured cancer.” Residents who had held off getting prescriptions filled or postponed screenings or seeing a doctor are now able to do so with Medicaid coverage.

3. Since Pennsylvania passed its Medicaid expansion, nearly 10 percent of the more than 650,000 who enrolled in the program began drug and alcohol abuse treatment – that’s approximately 65,000 people with an opportunity they didn’t have before to end their addictions.

4. According to one study … the expansion in Arkansas and Kentucky (and non-expansion in Texas), “poor adults” had more access to care and “skipping medications because of cost and trouble paying medical bills declined significantly.” Moreover, the “share of individuals with chronic conditions who obtained regular care increased” and the percentage of residents who were able to simply have a medical checkup jumped by 7 points. In Texas, where expansion has not taken place, there’s been little success in reducing uninsured rates or improving health care outcomes.

5. This is a great public policy story — one that shows how a targeted effort using government resourcesfor the most vulnerable can produce positive, even life-changing results. 

6. Gov. Terry McAuliffe expanded Medicaid for more than 400,000 Virginians. Bogus claims that it would cost the state $1 billion … The actual cost as estimated by the fact-checking site, PolitiFact, is around $3 million.

7. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, approximately 3 million more Americans would receive access to care if Medicaid expansion occurred in every state. That’s 3 million Americans who can’t see a doctor or a dentist, can’t fill prescriptions, and can’t get the drug or alcohol treatment that could turn their lives around.
Republicans, who's moto is “party first above country,” oppose health care because it’s to successful, and a Democratic Party idea:
Continued GOP opposition (is) a refusal to support anything that has the name Obama on it. Expanding Medicaid would mean that Republicans implicitly acknowledge that Obamacare has some positive elements to it — and risk the political fallout from Republican voters. For the modern GOP, that’s a bridge too far.
But in the 19 GOP-controlled states … a different choice is being made: to put political preservation and hatred of President Obama above the needs of their citizens. Not surprisingly, these states are among the unhealthiest in the nation, with some of the highest rates of illnesses and deaths from diseases that are often easily preventable.

There might not be a bigger and more shameful political story in America today than this one. And there also might not be a better example of the fundamental divide that separates America’s two political parties.

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