Saturday, May 03, 2014

Republican Health Care Reform Strategy - Doubledown to Repeal

The GOP reminds me of a compulsive gambler. A compulsive gambler keeps telling himself that his losing streak is going to end with his last bet. He doesn’t want to quit playing while he’s losing. He knows his luck will change; he just has to hang in there until it does. It usually doesn’t. He stops gambling only when he doesn’t have a penny left to bet with.

The GOP is handling Obamacare just like the compulsive gambler deals with a losing streak. The public may not love Obamacare (mostly because they don’t know what Obamacare is…really). But, most of the public wants to keep Obamacare and improve it. The GOP wants to repeal it and by GOD they aren’t going to change their minds about that.

A couple of years ago most of the Republican lead states decided that they would not expand Medicaid to close the gap between the state’s existing Medicaid program and the Public Exchange. Most states cut off Medicaid below the minimum income to qualify for the Public Exchange. The federal government committed to pay 100% of the cost of expanding Medicaid for the first 3 years and 90% of the cost thereafter. You have to make more than 138% of the Federal Poverty Level in order to qualify for the Public Exchange. Everyone who earns 138% of the FPL or less will be covered by Medicaid. Many states didn’t qualify people up to 138% of the FPL, some states cut off Medicaid if you earn more than 25% of the FPL (about $6,000 for a family of 4). The federal government would pay for the cost of Medicaid for everyone whose income falls between each state’s existing Medicaid maximum income and 138% of the FPL.

However, most Republican lead states like my state of South Carolina, refused to accept the additional federal funding. Consequently, about 11 million people will not have health care coverage in those states. Many of those people will use hospital emergency rooms when they are sick. That cost will be in the billions and will drive up the cost of health care for everybody.

Now you would think that the GOP would accept the federally funded Medicaid expansion if not so that 11 million people have adequate health care, then in order to prevent higher health care costs. But, most of the Red States said no.

Now that Obamacare is up and running successfully and the majority of Americans do not want to repeal Obamacare, why are the Red States not expanding Medicaid? Why are GOP congressmen still calling for the repeal of Obamacare?

Is this a winning strategy or will the GOP lose like the compulsive gambler?

I think they will lose if they keep resisting Obamacare but I could be wrong. Most Americans don’t understand Obamacare, the Public Exchange and Medicaid Expansion and refuse to learn about them. If they did understand, I think they would disapprove of the GOP’s strategy. If enough of them don’t do their homework and know only what the neighbor tells them or what they hear on Fox News then the Republicans may get away with their strategy.

What do you think most Americans will do?

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