THE BLOG
05/26/2014 12:50 pm ET Updated Jul 26, 2014

Republican Governors Show Their True Colors Turning Down Billions in Medicaid Expansion

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In a 2012 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that states could decide to take the Medicaid expansion or not. In a purely political, but predictable move, Republican governor after Republican governor chose to say no to Medicaid expansion for their states even though their community hospitals are bursting at the seams.

Why would any elected official turn down free health care dollars for its citizens? These 24 Republican governors would prefer to say no to billions of federal dollars that would provide healthcare coverage for millions of destitute folks, than take funds from the Obama administration. They claim their states could not afford the expansions. The truth is that the federal government pays 100 percent of the cost the first three years and then at least 90 percent thereafter. Hate truly is stronger than compassion in the GOP and it is costing the party their logic, reason and good business sense. When you turn down health care for millions of citizens, billions of dollars and job creation out of spite, you are not representing the best interests of your constituents.

Many Republicans say they don't think the government should be involved in keeping its citizens healthy through a government-provided healthcare system. My question is why is it OK for great government health care to be provided to these elected Republicans but it's not OK to provide for our American people?

Rick Perry, governor of Texas, turned down the Medicaid expansion that would have created 200,000 new jobs in addition to insuring millions of people. As a result of his selfish ideology, Texas will lose more than $9 billion.

In Florida, the healthcare company Columbia/HCA, was fined $1.7 billion for Medicare fraud while Rick Scott, prior to being governor, was CEO. Now Scott doesn't want to let Florida's citizens receive the benefits from the Medicaid expansion. Florida will lose $5 billion.

If Louisiana accepted the ACA provisions and expanded Medicaid, 240,000 people would be eligible for affordable care, yet Governor Bobby Jindal refused.

Gov. Mary Fallin and legislative leaders also rejected the expansion of Medicaid coverage for approximately 175,000 uninsured Oklahomans leaving the state with no viable overall healthcare plan.

In Pennsylvania, Gov. Corbett's decision not to accept the expansion will leave $500 million in federal funds on the table in 2014. These funds could provide health care for 500,000 people, a financial boost to hospitals and local healthcare providers, and create upwards of 35,000 jobs.

Likewise, Governor Christi of New Jersey vetoed a bill that would permanently establish the Medicaid expansion.

By 2022, Georgia, Missouri, North Carolina and Virginia will all lose more than $2 billion each.

Expanding Medicaid coverage costs less than 1 percent of the state budgets on average, while not accepting the funds are leading to state budget shortfalls and health facilities closures.

While the Republicans are quick to send our military into harm's way, they are less eager to take care of them when they return home.

About 1.3 million veterans are uninsured nationwide. According to a report by Pew, approximately 258,600 of these veterans are living below the poverty line in states refusing to expand Medicaid. Without veteran's benefits and with incomes too low to qualify for subsidies to use state exchanges, these veterans are left without affordable coverage options.

State governors owe the best health care available to their citizens whether veterans, indigent or just the sick. But, that isn't what these Republican governors are doing. They are placing their political ideology over their citizens' health.

The states with the most uninsured and the poorest people are the same states refusing to take federal funds to help their people. Instead of embracing the Medicaid expansion, they are shunning it as if it was a plague. While taxpayers in all states fund the Medicaid expansion, only people in half the states are reaping the advantages of those tax dollars, jobs and medical benefits -- the states with Democratic governors.

Democratic Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, on the day after the Affordable Care Act of 2010 was signed into law, appointed a task force to prepare his state to accept more Medicaid money and establish rules on how it would be spent. Its program will offer 300 insurance options provided by 12 private insurance companies and nine managed-care systems. These aren't government programs but private ones -- just like the coverage carried today by millions of Americans.

Governor Beshear (D) of Kentucky has made the Medicaid expansion a key component of his administration. He quickly accepted ACA realizing that the 640,000 uninsured Kentuckians would be able to get insurance through Medicaid expansion and coverage through the health benefit exchanges.

Every American citizen over the voting age of 18 has the right to vote for a Democrat, a Republican or someone from one of the smaller parties. But, if you vote for a Republican... beware of what you might lose as a result.

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