One of the most important parts of the Affordable Care Act was the expansion of Medicaid to extend healthcare to low-income Americans. Most Republican governors across the country, determined to sabotage President Obama’s flagship legislation, refused to accept the expansion, preferring to let their people and their budgets suffer just to spite President Obama.
Those decisions by red governors are coming back to bite them where it really hurts- in their budgets. A new report from the Kasier Family Foundation indicates that states that refused to expand Medicaid coverage are now paying more for it than if they had, easily debunking the false narratives and doomsday prophecies that Republicans still treat as gospel, no matter how many reports or studies are released showing that the ACA in fact lowers healthcare costs.
“We did see a higher growth rate of what states spent of their own dollars on Medicaid in the in non-expansion states than we did in the expansion states” says Laura Snyder, senior analyst at the Kaiser Foundation. Their study found that total spending in expansion states grew by 17.7 percent, but the state spending only grew by 3.4 percent while state spending on Medicaid in non-expansion states increased by 6.9 percent as total spending rose by 6.1 percent. More than two-thirds of expansion states saw that the amount they paid per member per month was at or lower than their previous projections.
That growth in spending by non-expansion states amounts to some two billion dollars that Republican governors have decided to waste instead of letting the feds pick up the tab. On top of that, Mother Jones noted that “residents of the states that refuse to expand Medicaid are paying about $50 billion in Obamacare taxes each year, and about $20 billion of that is for Medicaid expansion. Instead of flowing back into their states, this money is going straight to Washington DC, never to be seen again.”
The Republican refusal to expand Medicaid as part of their perpetual tantrum against President Obama’s progressive agenda has left four million of their constituents without healthcare and without access to the programs they pay taxes for. It is an absolute travesty and astonishing negligence on the part of these so-called “governors” who show no regard for their constituents or their well-being. Let’s make sure they are punished for it in the coming election.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.