Tuesday, July 3, 2012


When the Supreme Court ruled on The Affordable Care Act, it said two things: First, that the individual mandate is constitutional under the federal government’s taxing power. Second, that the government couldn’t withhold all Medicaid funding from states that refused to participate in the law’s proposed expansion of the program.

The first thing the Supreme Court said has gotten most of the attention, perhaps because it has exciting political implications in a presidential year. After the Court called the mandate a tax, Republicans everywhere began calling the law “the biggest tax increase in history,” which, while not true, is the sort of thing that gets political hearts beating very fast.

Rather, it’s the second thing the Court said that actually matters for the law, and for average Americans, going forward. If states choose to sit the Medicaid expansion out, millions of people who would have been covered under the Medicaid expansion will remain uninsured. The law does not have provisions for extending subsidies to Americans making less than the poverty line, so someone making $9,000 a year in a state that refuses to participate in the Medicaid expansion might not get any help at all.

To get a sense of the numbers involved here, in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott has said he won’t participate in the Medicaid expansion. If he follows through on that threat, 950,000 Floridians who would have been covered by the law won’t be.

What more do you need to know about these extreme right wing politicians? They are basically saying they would rather see their constituents go without healthcare and risk death rather than give Democrats a “political win.” We watched in horror the response of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell when asked by FOX News’ Chris Wallace about what is the GOP plan to help 30 million uninsured Americans. He said, after being asked three separate times, “That’s not the issue.” It’s painfully disgusting to watch. How do these hateful ideologues stay in political office? They have no souls.

There needs to be a ground swell of grassroots activity in our local communities around the Medicaid expansion plan to support the disabled, poor and elderly. These are the populations that will be disproportionally affected if the federal aid for Medicaid is not accepted by these “red states” — much to the uncaring disregard of conservative and Republican governors across the nation. It’s just one more reason why sane people living in a just society need to support Democrats this election cycle.

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