Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Die Quickly, Or At Least Get Lost

They were all over Alan Grayson.  In September, 2009,  U.S. Representative Alan Grayson said (video immediately below the quote) on the House floor

It’s my duty and pride tonight to be able to announce exactly what the Republicans plan to do for health care in America… It’s a very simple plan. Here it is. The Republican health care plan for America: “don’t get sick.” If you have insurance don’t get sick, if you don’t have insurance, don’t get sick; if you’re sick, don’t get sick. Just don’t get sick. … If you do get sick America, the Republican health care plan is this: “die quickly.”

Righteous outrage erupted.  Typical were the reactions of two Tennessee Republicans. Jimmy Duncan charged "That is about the most mean-spirited partisan statement that I've ever heard made on this floor and I, for one, don't appreciate it."  Marsha Blackburn maintained "It's fully appropriate that the gentleman return to the floor and apologize."

Republicans and members of the media were aghast but Grayson did not apologize and, after being defeated in 2010, was returned two years later by voters in his district.   And he still is unapologetic.  In an appearance with John Fugelsang (picked up by Susie Madrak) on Current TV, he noted "As I pointed out three years ago, their health care plan is: 'Don't get sick. And if you do get sick, die quickly.'"

Grayson pointed that the GOP response to periodic massacres and extreme, extraordinary weather events (e.g., Hurricane Sandy) is similar to that of the health care needs of Americans.    And he probably didn't even know about Kathryn Playford (hat tip to Hullabaloo's Digby):

Working full time and yet not being able to afford health insurance coverage literally sticks in Kathryn Playford’s throat.

The office manager for a self-storage facility and office park in North Augusta says she has put off surgery for an enlarged thyroid for years because she lacks health care coverage.

“Eventually, it may enlarge to the point where I can’t breathe,” Playford said.

The governors of Georgia and South Carolina have decided not to expand Medicaid coverage to more uninsured despite high rates of working families with no coverage.

In South Carolina, nearly half of the 766,304 uninsured, or 359,107, are working and 19.3 percent of people employed in the state lack insurance, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey 2011.

In Georgia, 22.7 percent of the employed lack health insurance, and working families make up 48.3 percent of the uninsured.

The states turned down the expansion under the Affordable Care Act despite the fact that it would be fully funded for the first three years and would not dip below 90 percent federally funded in subsequent years.

In Georgia, the expansion would offer Medicaid coverage for individuals making nearly $16,000 a year and for families of four making around $32,000 a year. Within that adult population, 50.6 percent are uninsured, according to Census data.

“I would argue that those are the people that are really getting the burden of the state not investing more of its state dollars” in Medicaid, said Tim Sweeney, the director of health policy for the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute.

Advocates in a coalition called Cover Georgia will gather Tuesday at the state Capitol to rally for the state to reconsider Medicaid expansion.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has said the state cannot afford it and that the federal government might not be able to continue funding it in the future.

It's not only Kathryn Playford, and it's not only Georgia and South Carolina.  In all, according to the map below, 13 states have decided not to participate in Medicaid expansion and four states (including New Jersey under the leadership of media darling Christopher J. Christie) are leaning against participating.

At worst, a few years down the road, states which extend health care to additional poor individuals will have to put up one (1) dollar for every nine (9) donated by the federal government.  Alan Grayson was- and is- right, though with a twist.  The states which reject expansion (most dominated by the G.O.P.) are adopting their own program:  "don't get sick- and if you do, don't bother us."

Where the States Stand
Via: The Advisory Board Company

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