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When you boil Trumpcare down to its essence, what you get is the destruction of Medicaid. That’s been the goal of Republican lawmakers for decades, and more than anything is what’s driving this crazy, unprecedented, undemocratic drive by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. There are two extremely salient stories every other Republican should be thinking about going into this thing, particularly those from states that expanded Medicaid. The first comes from Health Affairs, demonstrating that Medicaid expansion hasn’t just improved the health of enrollees—it’s improved their finances.
The researchers compared the change in both the uninsured rate and the rate of unpaid medical bills in both expansion and non-expansion states, before and after the Affordable Care Act was enacted. In terms of unpaid medical debt, both sets of states were essentially the same. But in 2015, after the law, “the share with medical debt fell 7 percentage
in non-expansion states […]. In contrast, medical debt fell by almost twice as much, 13 percentage points, in expansion states.” And this: “the effect of the Medicaid expansion closes about a quarter of the gap in financial satisfaction between low-income and median-income individuals.” The bottom line for them? “Our data are somewhat different from what has been used in other recent research, but overall a clear story emerges: The ACA’s Medicaid expansion benefits not just health care, but also financial health. ”
Then go to a non-expansion state—in this case Virginia, this weekend.
Anthony Marino, 54, reached into his car trunk to show a pair of needle-nosed pliers like the ones he used to yank out a rotting tooth.
Shirley Akers, 58, clutched a list of 20 medications she takes, before settling down to a sleepless night in the cab of a pickup truck.
Robin Neal, 40, tried to inject herself with a used-up insulin pen, but it broke, and her blood sugar began to skyrocket.
As the sun set in the mountains of southwest Virginia, hundreds of hurting souls were camped out or huddled in vehicles, eager for an early place in line when the gates swung open at 5 a.m. for the nation’s largest pop-up free clinic.
Dr. Joseph F. Smiddy, 75, is one of the physicians who volunteered over the weekend, just as he’s been doing since the first one in 1999. He says “We’re sicker here than in Central America.”