The Washington Post ran a scathing editorial last month that began like this:
Republicans in Virginia’s House of Delegates have blocked hundreds of thousands of poor Virginians from getting health insurance under the Obama administration’s Medicaid expansion. At the same time, they’ve refused to suggest any alternative method by which the needy people in the state might arrange health coverage.
The Post made the case that it’s morally reprehensible to refuse Medicaid expansion and deny health care to hundreds of thousands of your constituents in order to make some sort of political statement. A pretty straight-forward argument.
But the Kochs’ Americans for Prosperity was there to push back, applauding this stunt to deny people health care. Writing a letter to the editor in response to that editorial, AFP’s Virginia director offered this heartfelt conclusion: “The decision by Virginia Republicans not to expand Medicaid is logical and prudent.”
And it’s not just Virginia where AFP is waging this battle. They’ve fought against Medicaid expansion in Nebraska and Maine, in Louisiana and Pennsylvania. In Michigan, they promised to spend “considerable resources” targeting the Senators who voted to expand Medicaid.
It’s part of a callous campaign that has left over 250,000 veterans, and millions more Americans, uninsured. But it’s one that is squarely in line with the Koch agenda that promises to make life harder for working families and even easier for the wealthy at every turn.
Kaiser Family Foundation: In Virginia, 191,000 Uninsured Adults Fall Into The Coverage Gap Created By The Failure To Expand Medicaid. According to Kaiser Family Foundation, “In Virginia, 191,000 uninsured adults (19% of the uninsured in the state) who would have been eligible for Medicaid if the state expanded fall into the coverage gap. These adults are all below the poverty line and thus have very limited incomes. Because they do not gain an affordable coverage option under the ACA, they are most likely to remain uninsured. [Kaiser Family Foundation, 1/6/14]
Vox: “States That Refuse Medicaid Are Leaving Over 250,000 Poor Veterans Uninsured.” According to Vox:The failure of some states to expand Medicaid is leaving a quarter-million veterans without health insurance. Many assume that all of the nation’s veterans are entitled to health care through the Veteran’s Administration, but that’s not the case; a veteran must have served for two continuous years or the full period for which they were called to active duty in order to be eligible. There are some exceptions — like for individuals who were discharged for a disability sustained in the line of duty — but about 1.3 million veterans remain uninsured nationwide. According to a report by Pew using analysis from the Urban Institute, approximately 258,600 of those veterans are living below the poverty line in states refusing to expand Medicaid. Without veteran’s benefits — and with incomes too low to qualify for subsidies to use on the state exchanges — these veterans are left without affordable coverage options. [Vox, 5/21/14]