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Wed Jan 9, 2013, 07:20 PM

"Death Panel" of GOP Governors Refuse Medicaid Expansion

A growing number Republican Governors are refusing to expand their state Medicaid programs. The Supreme Court weakened the Medicaid expansion written into the Affordable Care Act, when it ruled that the federal government can’t penalize states that refused the expansion by withholding their existing Medicaid funding. That made it easier for conservative governors to withhold lifesaving medical access to the poor and uninsured in their states. Since the last time I wrote about this subject, four more Republican governors have joined what amounts to GOP’s own death panel. Republican governors are standing up for a conservative health care reform principle articulated by conservative economist Tyler Cowen.

"2. A rejection of health care egalitarianism, namely a recognition that the wealthy will purchase more and better health care than the poor. Trying to equalize health care consumption hurts the poor, since most feasible policies to do this take away cash from the poor, either directly or through the operation of tax incidence. We need to accept the principle that sometimes poor people will die just because they are poor. Some of you don’t like the sound of that, but we already let the wealthy enjoy all sorts of other goods — most importantly status — which lengthen their lives and which the poor enjoy to a much lesser degree. We shouldn’t screw up our health care institutions by being determined to fight inegalitarian principles for one very select set of factors which determine health care outcomes."

First, there were six. Meet the newest “Death Panel” on the block. They are the six Republican governors who have vowed refuse the Medicaid expansion that will happen most other states, under the Affordable Care Act — Rick Scott (FL), Rick Perry (TX), Phil Bryant (MS), Nikki Haley (SC), Terry Branstad (IA), and Bobby Jindal (LA). These Republican governors are opening the “trap door” that the Supreme Court installed in the Affordable Care Act, even at it upheld most of the law. But it’s the poorest residents in these states, many of whom are African American and Latino, and who would have gained health coverage and access to care, that will fall through that trap door.

Now there are ten. Meet the newest members of the GOP Governors’ Death Panel. They are: C.L. “Butch” Otter (ID), Rick Perry (TX), Phil Bryant (MS), Mary Fallin (OK), Robert Bentley (AL), Nikki Haley (SC), Terry Branstad (IA), Bobby Jindal (LA), Dennis Daugaard (SD), and Paul LePage (ME).


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