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Uninsured woman with 3 jobs dies because Florida refused Medicaid expansion

Charlene Dill was killed by Republican obstruction of the ACA.
Charlene Dill was killed by Republican obstruction of the ACA.
thinkprogress.org

Sometimes it really sucks to say, "I told you so." The Supreme Court created an "insurance gap" when it ruled that states don't have to accept Medicaid expansion. In states that refused expansion, people in this gap are royally screwed. And now, in Florida, Charlene Dill has paid the ultimate price for this political screwing over of the poor. Anything but "lazy," she worked three jobs as a single mother. She had a documented heart condition that was treatable, but could not afford to go to the doctor. And today, she's dead, and if Governor Rick Scott had accepted Medicaid expansion -- like he originally indicated he would -- Charlene's three children would not be orphans.

This was inevitable, and it will happen again and again until all states have expanded Medicaid. It cannot be any more clear: Republican Governors who refuse to expand Medicaid are killing people.

The Republican stonewalling of the ACA is hard to see as anything other than willful evil. It goes much deeper than one dead woman in Florida. We're talking about millions of people who are suffering, right now, today, with conditions that are treatable. Some will die, and others will live in pain that could be prevented. People will lose their jobs over their illnesses. Some will lose their houses. Families will be torn apart. This is real world suffering that is directly caused by Republicans.

And it gets even worse. These detestable hypocrites are quietly reaping increased profits from the ACA. The Koch brothers are happy to rake in millions of dollars from the program, and other corporations will soon enjoy similar benefits, after the president surprised everybody and kept the sluices open for the insurance industry after initially promising to cut excessive subsidies to companies. When it's payments to corporations, the proof is in the pudding. Republicans love that part of the ACA. They just can't be bothered with the little people's health.

Speaking of the little people's health, let's talk for a minute about what a great deal Medicaid expansion really is. For states who have expanded, the Federal Government is paying 100% of the cost of expansion. All of it. Zero cost to states, and millions of people with health coverage that is... let's say it again... paid entirely by the Federal Government, with no cost at all to the state. After 3 years, the states will be required to foot a whopping 10% of the bill. To call it a no-brainer is almost comically missing the point.

Who is it covering? Not unemployed people. Not the "moochers" or "welfare queens" the Republicans so love to demonize. Even if those people exist in any significant numbers, that has nothing at all to do with Medicaid expansion. Medicaid before expansion covers the unemployed. The expansion covers people with jobs who don't make enough to afford insurance.

For many of us progressives, the ACA is a blessing and a curse. It's not what we wanted. We wanted Single Payer -- essentially expanding Medicaid to cover everyone. But the ACA is a lot better than nothing, and even though it's complicated, and even though it doesn't do enough to curtail rising medical costs (like Medicaid, which sets the prices it will pay for services), we recognize that it's a reasonable compromise. People are getting to go to the doctor. So we're happy.

Not so with Republicans. They've voted against it... who knows... a thousand times? (Okay, 50.) They've wasted millions of dollars on these votes they knew wouldn't pass. Millions more on attack ads and millions more on the lawsuit which went to the Supreme Court. They're letting hospitals shut down. They're telling nearly 5 million people to suck it up and pay for their medical bills themselves on poverty wages. And people are dying. Children are being orphaned. The GOP doesn't mind spending money, and they're happy to take in ACA money anytime its offered. They just don't want poor people to have any of it. And that, my friends, is one of the worst kinds of evil I can imagine.