I suppose Obamacare was too tempting a target to resist, but it looks as if the Republicans will regret pinning their election hopes on attacking the new health care law.
It turns out that millions of Americans are benefiting from the Affordable Care Act, while millions have been left without coverage because their states refused to expand Medicaid under the new law.
Twenty-six states that have fallen under Republican control rejected the Affordable Care Act’s provision to expand Medicaid. And their defiance is having a disastrous impact on the poor – and on hospitals obliged to provide emergency care for them. Some hospitals have closed and others are in danger of closing.
Medicaid expansion provides coverage for low-income patients, reducing the burden hospitals face from providing free indigent care. And the new law cuts back on federal payments the hospitals used to receive to compensate them for this mandatory requirement.
Here’s how a CNN op-ed piece explained the situation:
When the Affordable Care Act was originally passed, subsidies to hospitals with large uninsured “charity care” populations were cut, figuring that the expansion of Medicaid under the law would replace this funding. But then the Supreme Court ruled that states could decide whether to expand Medicaid or not. Half the states have said they will not extend Medicaid or are putting off deciding. These are states mostly controlled by Republican governors, state legislatures, or both.
By rejecting Medicaid expansion, the red states are leaving hospitals to provide for patients who have no health coverage while the federal subsidies the hospitals used to get are cut back.
George Washington University researchers estimated recently that 518 health centers in red states will lose $555 million this year because their uninsured patients won’t get federally subsidized coverage. Meanwhile, the 582 health centers in states expanding Medicaid can expect to gain about $2 billion in funding.
The new law’s effect on the economy is also proving a positive for Democrats. Attacked as a “job killer,” Obamacare has generated about a million jobs, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The massive right-wing propaganda crusade has poisoned public opinion against Obamacare . But apparently, reality is setting in nationwide as the law’s benefits become apparent and its rejection by red states inflicts suffering on millions.
Approval of the health care reforms is rising. A recent Christian Science Monitor/TIPP poll found that some 47 percent of American adults support Obamacare, and 47 percent are opposed.
This is a significant improvement from the newspaper’s March poll, which showed 51 percent opposed and only 40 percent in favor.
It’s beginning to look as if President Obama’s signature legislative achievement will prove to be an asset to Democratic candidates in November – instead of the liability that many of them dreaded so much.