GOP refusal to expand Medicaid leaves millions uninsured

Republican-controlled states opting out of Obamacare's Medicaid expansion will result in millions of uninsured

Topics: Medicaid, Obamacare, GOP, Republican Party, The New York Times, Healthcare Reform,

GOP refusal to expand Medicaid leaves millions uninsuredRick Perry (Credit: Reuters/Chris Keane)

According to a report from the New York Times, the decision of many Republican-controlled state governments throughout the nation to reject Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion will result in millions of those the program was designed to help going uninsured.

“A sweeping national effort to extend health coverage to millions of Americans will leave out two-thirds of the poor blacks and single mothers and more than half of the low-wage workers who do not have insurance,” reports the Times.

“Because they live in states largely controlled by Republicans that have declined to participate in a vast expansion of Medicaid, the medical insurance program for the poor, they are among the eight million Americans who are impoverished, uninsured and ineligible for help.”

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The 26 states that have rejected the Medicaid expansion are home to about half of the country’s population, but about 68 percent of poor, uninsured blacks and single mothers. About 60 percent of the country’s uninsured working poor are in those states. Among those excluded are about 435,000 cashiers, 341,000 cooks and 253,000 nurses’ aides.

“The irony is that these states that are rejecting Medicaid expansion — many of them Southern — are the very places where the concentration of poverty and lack of health insurance are the most acute,” said Dr. H. Jack Geiger, a founder of the community health center model. “It is their populations that have the highest burden of illness and costs to the entire health care system.”

The disproportionate impact on poor blacks introduces the prickly issue of race into the already politically charged atmosphere around the health care law. Race was rarely, if ever, mentioned in the state-level debates about the Medicaid expansion. But the issue courses just below the surface, civil rights leaders say, pointing to the pattern of exclusion.

Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a staff writer at Salon, focusing on politics. Follow him on Twitter at @eliasisquith.

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