Newsflash:
Issue Teams

Thanks to the ongoing politicized fight over the health reform law, 23 states are refusing to accept Obamacare’s expansion of the Medicaid program, a move that’s ultimately denying health coverage to millions of the poorest Americans. Over five million people — mostly poor people of color — will fall into a coverage gap in which they make too much money to qualify for public insurance through Medicaid, but too little to qualify for federal subsidies to help them purchase private insurance in the exchanges.

More than 1,000 Texans plan to march on the Texas state capitol Tuesday hoping to change Rick Perry's mind about Medicaid.

The protesters want the Republican governor to reverse his position on the Medicaid expansion that is a key part of the Affordable Health Care Act, or Obamacare.

AUSTIN — If Texas keeps refusing to enlarge Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, the state will pass up a heap of money, a new study has found.

In 2022, the state would pass up federal money for Medicaid expansion equal to more than twice its haul that year in federal highway aid, according to researchers Sherry Glied and Stephanie Ma of New York University.

About 25,000 poor and uninsured Mainers will miss out on health insurance under the Affordable Care Act because the state refused to expand Medicaid, according to a national study released Wednesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

All eyes are on Republican Gov. Paul LePage after the state Senate on Friday granted final passage to a bill that would expand the state’s Medicaid program to roughly 70,000 low-income Mainers under the auspices of the federal Affordable Care Act.

Maine’s Democratic state House Speaker, Mark Eves, noted the circumstances this week surrounding Medicaid expansion. “We have a bipartisan plan for life-saving health care for tens of thousands of Mainers,” he said. “It creates jobs, it save lives, it saves money.”

The bill received bipartisan support but not enough to override LePage, who says Maine cannot afford it and federal promises can't be trusted. Gov. Paul LePage on Wednesday vetoed a bill that would have expanded MaineCare coverage to more than 60,000 low-income Mainers.

Like scared little boys huddling in a closet, the members of the Missouri Senate’s so-called “conservative” caucus this week begged the monster under their bed to go away.

The monster is Medicaid expansion. The senators want it to leave them alone because they can’t make it go away on their own. Their intellectual argument on the merits of the issue has been laid bare by studies, colleagues, donors and other conservatives who have come to realize that balancing budgets and saving lives is a bit more important than simply hating Obamacare.

One in five jobs in Missouri is linked to health care. Hospitals and clinics are among the largest job providers in most communities and a vital part of our state’s economy. The industry is so robust that you may not have noticed that they have eliminated nearly 1,000 positions in the last six months, and are implementing a hiring freeze on 2,145 more positions. Why?

For those still not convinced by the editorial board’s piece “ ‘This thing is working’ ” (April 21), the bone of contention is almost always about cost.

Many conservative legislators and their constituents all seem to be asking the same question: “How will Missouri pay for costs of Medicaid expansion?” The real question is: How can we afford not to?

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