by Jeremy Leaming
It is hardly surprising that a string of right-wing governors are declaring that it will not cooperate with a major portion of the Obama administration’s health care law aimed at expanding Medicaid to cover millions more of the uninsured.
For decades the Republican Party has become obsessed with advancing the interests of a very small, but powerful group of individuals – the one 1 percent who control the vast majority of the nation’s wealth. In a piece last year for Vanity Fair, Columbia University Business School Professor Joseph Stiglitz argued that the nation’s super wealthy are out-of-touch with the rest of the nation, and does its best to ensure that separation.
“The rich don’t need to rely on government for parks or education or medical care or personal security – they can buy all these things themselves. In the process they become more distant from ordinary people, losing whatever empathy they may once have had. They also worry about strong government – one that could use its power to adjust the balance, take some of their wealth, and invest it for the common good. The top 1 percent may complain about the kind of government we have in America, but in truth they like it just fine: too gridlocked to re-distribute, too divided to do anything but lower taxes,” Stiglitz wrote.
The Affordable Care Act, however, does include measures aimed at investing in the common good. The Medicaid expansion for instance calls for the states to greatly expand their coverage to all people under the age of 65 with incomes 133 percent of the federal poverty line.
This was always a part of the discussion overhaul health care – to extend affordable coverage to the tens of millions of uninsured. The New York Times reported this weekend that millions of “poor people could still be left without medical insurance under the national health care law if states take an option granted by the Supreme Court and decide not to expand their Medicaid programs ….”