Drip, Drip, Drip

Add Indiana to the list of GOP-controlled states that will expand Medicaid, so long as they don’t have to call it an Obamacare expansion.  Gov. Mike Pence (who may run for prez in 2016) has negotiated an expansion with the feds under his Healthy Indiana Program.  It’s a win-win — the feds get another state to insure people who fall in the ridiculous gap between those who qualify for Medicaid and those who qualify for Obamacare subsidies, and Pence can say it’s different from the Obamacare expansion.  But bottom line, more people get covered.

The arc of the health insurance universe bends slowly, but it’s bending toward coverage.

Let’s Not Forget

As things look up for Obamacare and those getting covered, let’s not forget the almost 8 million who could get insurance if all the states expanded Medicaid.  The failure to expand is expected to cause between 7 and 17,000 thousand unnecessary deaths, not to mention who-knows- how-many unnecessary instances of people ending up with an amputation, going blind, etc.

Care delayed is care denied.

We Like It, We Really Like It

“Consider these numbers from a Kaiser Foundation poll from last week. Percent who like the ACA’s extension of dependent coverage: 76. Percent supportive of the act’s closing of the Medicare drug “donut hole”: 73. Percent favoring “guaranteed issue” of coverage to people who are already sick: 69. Percent who back the Medicaid expansion: 62.

“Oh, wait. Those are the Republican percentages. The overall percentages, respectively, are 80, 79, 70, and 74.

“It’s the same old disconnect. Just as majorities of even rank-and-file Republicans support things like restricting the gun-show loophole (indeed a majority of NRA members support that), majorities of Republicans back these and other basic common-sense provisions of the ACA. And yet these same Republicans keep reelecting to Congress a horde of dishonest and ideologically driven harlots who’ve voted 50-whatever times to do away with all these positive changes.

“Here are two other numbers from the Kaiser poll. They gave people four options: keep the law as is, keep it and change it where needed, get of it and replace with a GOP alternative, and simply get rid of it and replace it with nothing. The first two and the second two can be reasonably grouped together as “basically support the law” and “basically oppose the law.” The numbers are 59 to 29. Not against—in support of the law.”  Italics in original.

Michael Tomasky, Obamacare Crosses the Finish Line,” The Daily Beast

1062 and All That

GOP Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona has vetoed Senate Bill 1062, which would have make it okay for businesses to discriminate against gays based on the “religious beliefs” of their owners and employees.  No soup (or wedding cake) for you!

As with Medicaid expansion, I hope other GOP governors will follow Brewer and do the right thing for their citizens.

Also today, a federal court in Texas found that state’s ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional.

Back when I was growing up, right-wingers who saw Communists everywhere in this country wanted those on the left to move to Russia.  I think those on the right who are unhappy here should move to Putin’s Russia.

New Hampshire to Expand Medicaid

New Hampshire will become the 27th state (plus the District of Columbia) to expand Medicaid under Obamacare.  About 50,000 people will gain coverage.

New Hampshire refused to expand traditional Medicaid, but now will use an HHS waiver to let people buy private insurance using federal Medicaid funds.

Note to Republicans in non-expansion states — if you want to do the right thing and help your people, HHS will figure out a way for you to save face, you big babies.

Somewhere a GOP Congressman…

I was surprised to read today* that only 3% of adult cancer patients eligible for clinical trials choose to participate and that 40% of such trials don’t achieve minimum enrollment.

It occurred to me that somewhere a GOP Congressman is reading this and thinking that anyone who has cancer and is on Medicaid should be forced to take part in clinical trials.

* “Heroic Measures,” Bill Keller, NYT

Mississippi Moron

Gov. Phil Bryant (R-Mississippi) says he’s refusing to expand Medicaid because — wait for it — Obamacare might get repealed.

It would be terrible to give people health care they need today in case the GOP wins the White House and both houses of Congress and repeals the thing in 2017.

If only the 25 states and the District of Columbia that have expanded Medicaid would show such concern for their people.


No Obamacare, No Medicaid, No Nothing

The way Obamacare was supposed to work (for those without employer-based or government health care) was that some would get Medicaid under an expanded program, some would get insurance with government subsidies, and some would get insurance without government subsidies.

But when the Supreme Court found Obamacare constitutional, they also held that states didn’t have to expand Medicaid, and right now 25 states (all with GOP govs and/or legislatures) have refused to do so.  These red states are also among the poorest and unhealthiest states, places like Alabama and Mississippi.

So about 5 million people can’t get health insurance because they are too poor to qualify for subsidies.  Yes, you read that right.

Obamacare has left them in the same sad, sorry place they were before — with health care navigators encouraging them to try free clinics.  They should also encourage them to vote.




Question for Sen. Landrieu

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), facing a tough re-election fight next year, is sponsoring a bill in the Senate that wouldn’t just allow health insurance companies to renew the policies being cancelled, but would require them to do so.

About 92,000 Louisianans are expected to face cancelled policies.

Okay, so she’s just outraged about those people.  But why isn’t she outraged about the 400,000 Louisianans who won’t get Medicaid next year because her state has refused the expansion.