Stabbing underdogs

November 5, 2013

Ruthlessly, leaders in more than half of U.S. states — almost all of them Republicans — seem ready to deny health insurance to 8 million “working poor” people. Here’s how:

The historic 2010 U.S. Affordable Care Act was designed to extend medical coverage to 30 million lower-income Americans. Much of this improvement stems from expanding state Medicaid plans to cover families earning less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level. The expansion is to take effect Jan. 1, with the federal government paying nearly all costs.

However, when it declared the ACA constitutional, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed state officials to decide whether to join the Medicaid expansion. …. Gov. Tomblin accepted this humane advance, which was estimated to give health care to an estimated 120,000 more West Virginians on Jan. 1 — and also bring billions of federal money to the Mountain State and create an estimated 6,200 state jobs. Reporter Lori Kersey pointed out that nearly 70,000 West Virginians may be eligible for the enlarged Medicaid through community health centers.

But elsewhere in America, many conservative governors and state legislatures — mostly in Southern, mountain, rural “red states” — coldly refuse to participate. Even though the U.S. Treasury will pay all cost through 2016 and 90 percent thereafter, those “red” leaders are ready to hurt less-privileged families in their states. …

One bright exception is Kentucky. Although the Bluegrass State has loud far-right representatives in Congress, Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear championed the ACA to help Kentucky’s 640,000 uninsured people, one-sixth of the population.

In a commentary titled “My State Needs Obamacare. Now,” Beshear wrote. …

It’s amazing that GOP governors around America are rejecting such humanitarian and economic benefits, just to prevent lower-income residents from obtaining health care.

— Charleston (W. Va.) Gazette