Obamacare implementation is becoming the latest dividing line between blue- and red-state America, with Democrat-led states making progress to expand healthcare to the uninsured and the poor—and Republican-led states saying “screw you” to millions of their most vulnerable and needy residents.
The latest sign of the Republican Party’s increasingly secessionist tendencies comes as Obamacare passed a major milestone in California, which late last week announced lower-than-expected healthcare premiums for its 5.3 million uninsured, less than many small businesses now pay in group plans.
“Covered California’s Silver Plan… offers premiums that can be 29 percent lower than comparable plans provided on today’s small group market,” the state’s new insurance exchange announced Thursday, referring to the least-expensive option of four state-administered plans and posting this price comparison chart.
In contrast, the refusal by red-state America to create these health exchanges, which would be more local control—a supposed Republican value—and to accept federal funds to expand state-run Medicaid programs for the poor, means that about half the states are turning their backs on their residents, especially millions of the poorest people.
The federal government plans to step in later this summer and offer uninsured people in recalcitrant red states the option of buying plans via federally run heath care exchanges. But the poorest people can’t afford that, meaning the refusal to expand Medicaid programs will leave them in the cold. They will see ads selling new federal healthcare options that will be unaffordable for them.
TheNew York Times reports that local healthcare advocates in red states are predicting a backlash once Obamacare is rolled out and the poor realize that they cannot take advantage of it because Republicans are blocking it. However, that does not change the bottom line in state-run Medicaid programs: the GOP is again penalizing the poor. More…