Anti-Obamacare Southern States Will Leave Millions of Poor People Uninsured
Republican-controlled states that have declined to expand Medicaid, the federal medical insurance program for the poor, are standing in the way of health insurance for two thirds of America's poor blacks and single mothers.
In an impressive analysis that scoured census data in the 26 states that rejected the Medicaid expansion, the New York Times has found that nearly eight million impoverished Americans won't be getting the degree of benefits they would have in states that have expanded Obamacare.
Those benefits are, namely, the tax credits that make the purchase of health insurance in state exchanges possible for people in poverty.
All the states in the Deep South except Arkansas have rejected Obamacare's expansions, and are home to about half the country's population and "about 68 percent of poor, uninsured blacks and single mothers," the Times reported.
Civil rights leaders say there has been a racial undertone to the rejections of Obamacare all along, but some Republican state officials say they just can't afford to expand Medicaid.
State Senator Chris McDaniel told the Times any additional cost to Medicaid is going to be too much in states like Mississippi, where a large share of people in the state are on Medicaid already.
Republican-controlled states aren't the only place where resistance to Obamacare is still being seen. The current government shutdown is linked to House Republicans in Washington calling for key provisions of the bill to be delayed. The Supreme Court has upheld the law, and repeated Republican-led legislative attempts to repeal or roll it back have failed.
President Barack Obama has said he will not negotiate to whittle the bill's powers.
Thursday morning, at a speech in Baltimore, Obama called for a straight up-or-down vote on the stalled funding bill that has shutdown the government in Washington, but said Speaker of the House John Boehner is too afraid of his party's far right wing to allow it to happen.
"This whole thing is about one thing: the Republican obsession with dismantling the Affordable Care Act and denying affordable healthcare to millions of Americans. That seems to be the only thing that unites the Republican Party these days," Obama said.
"They won't agree to end the shutdown until they get their way," the president said Thursday.
Obama shook his head in open frustration while quoting House Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., who made headlines Wednesday for saying Republicans weren't "going to be disrespected, (Republicans) have to get something out of this and I don't know what that even is."
"Get something" out of shutting down the government? Obama had a response for that.
"You have already gotten the opportunity to serve the American people. There is no higher honor than that...the American people aren't in the mood to give you a goodie bag to go with it," Obama said. "If you're being disrespected it's because of that attitude you've got. That you deserve to get something just for doing your job."