Tuesday, July 02, 2013

GOP's erosion strategy against Obamacare

It's a multi-pronged offensive.

Nearly half the nation's states are opting not to expand Medicaid to all of their low-income residents, leaving billions of federal dollars on the table and millions of poor Americans uninsured.

At least 21 states are opting out of Medicaid expansion for next year. In another six states, legislators are still weighing their options, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is tracking the states' plans.


What happens to impoverished citizens in states that don't expand? The most likely answer is that they'll slip through the cracks and remain without health insurance.

Some of these folks will be eligible for subsidies to buy individual health insurance on state-based exchanges. But those with income below the poverty line cannot receive subsidies, because the Affordable Care Act intended for them to be covered through Medicaid. If their state opts out, they're stranded. (They also will not be subject to financial penalties for not having insurance. Those penalties begin at $95 per adult in 2014 and increase in later years.)

As it stands now, an estimated 11.5 million uninsured, non-elderly, poor adults live in states that have opted out, according to Kaiser.

More on this development here. But it's not just the poor who are getting threatened.

(Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen) Sebelius told reporters early last week that the National Football League was “enthusiastically engaged” in talks about a partnership to encourage people to enroll on the new health insurance exchanges, which will provide coverage to about 7 million Americans by the end of March 2014. However, by the week’s end, the NFL had contradicted her statement, saying that the league “currently [has] no plans to engage in this area.” This assertion came after the NFL received a public warning from Republican Senate leaders, who also sent letters to five other professional sports leagues suggesting they not promote Obamacare. The letters were cosigned by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Texas Senator John Cornyn.

“Given the divisiveness and persistent unpopularity of this bill, it is difficult to understand why an organization like yours would risk damaging its inclusive and apolitical brand by lending its name to its promotion,” wrote McConnell Cornyn to commissioner Roger Goodell in a letter published by TPM on Friday.

When even the Billionaire Boys Club is getting a shakedown from the Irish Mafia, you know something has really soured. Whatsamattah John, your season tickets have an obstructed view?

This is, obviously, somewhat more effective than simply introducing legislation in the House to overturn Obamacare 37 times in the past 5 years. It's just another one of those 'elections have consequences' things we're all still paying for from 2010.

Hate to sound like a broken record, but this sort of governance (sic) from Republicans is just going to keep getting worse until we all do something about it at the ballot box. I don't expect any party conversions among the NFL owners, so it's up to the rest of us to fix it.

Update: Administration punts on key ACA provision. And Socratic Gadfly has a withering opinion of that.

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