What you need to know about Medicaid expansion

PLEASE NOTE: All that stands between 17 million Americans getting free public health care and lower rates for all is the GOP.

4458527284_21d7409410Republican governors in states that re-elected President Obama are considering turning down the best thing to happen to the middle class since Medicare. Because of this people are going to die unnecessarily and we’re all going to pay more for our health insurance.

I’m still amazed that people aren’t screaming about this in the streets, or at least the their tweets. So here’s another shot at a perfectly clear explanation of why Medicaid expansions is so crucial that you need to sign our petition or contact your governor to say, “WTF! Take this great deal!” now.

What is Medicaid expansion?
As part of the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, which already provides coverage to the poorest Americans, will be expanded to cover any citizen who earns up to 133% of the poverty rate. The federal government covers 100% percent of this expansion at first and that percentage goes down to 90% by 2020. But the Supreme Court decided in 2012 that states can reject this money.

Who will it cover?
Up to 17 million Americans will get free public health care, up to 670,000 in Michigan — citizens who are working and are currently not poor enough to get Medicaid.

Will it save lives?
An estimated 26,000 to 45,000 Americans die every year for lack for insurance. It’s estimated that we could save at least 5,000 of them if Republican governors would just say yes to Medicaid expansion.

What is the benefit to me?
This will drive down the costs of all of our insurance since the cost of covering the uninsured, which we are mandated to do thanks to a law signed by Ronald Reagan, is a leading reason our health care is so expensive. High insurance rates have been driving down middle class salaries for years. This is a chance for the middle class to turn the tide that has led to record corporate profits and record low worker wages.

Why would a state turn Medicaid expansion down?
Currently the federal government only covers about 60% of Medicaid. So why would states volunteer to continue to pay more for Medicaid? Because they’re run by Republicans. Because they’re trying to sabotage Obamacare. Because they are pushing the lie that this is going to add to the debt despite the fact that Obamacare is fully funded. Because the people who are being denied health care aren’t likely to vote and, if they do vote, it won’t be for Republicans. Because Republican governors in blue states like Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio are more afraid of losing in a primary to a more anti-Obamacare governor.

What do you mean “free” public health care?
While there are co-pays for beneficiaries who can afford them, Medicaid is an insurance plan provided and paid for by the government. ObamaCare taxes income on those into the top 2% to pay for this expansion. You can’t get more progressive than that. And that tax will be collected even in the states that reject Medicaid expansion. So the rich in these red states will be punished, too, by being denied the lower rates that would come from expansion.

So why the f*ck isn’t anyone talking about this?
The deadline for expansion hasn’t been set. Maybe the thinking is keep the issue low profile and GOP governors in blue states can say “yes” on the downlow.

But any who lived through the union-busting fiasco of late 2012 here in Michigan knows that the right is relentless. And the idea of working people giving another reason to vote Democratic with a program created by Obama is infuriating to them. Unless Republican governors are afraid of losing in a general election, Americans will die unnecessarily and we’ll all pay more.

So all I can do is keep screaming until the 17 million Americans who are being robbed of a healthier future begin to hear. And you can sign this petition and share it with a friend.

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