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Ian Reifowitz Headshot

On Health Insurance Coverage, the South Really and Truly Is the Region With the Most Freedom

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Ain't freedom grand? And what says freedom better than being free from government mandates like the guarantee that you can't be denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition?

As we all know, the South has forever been a place where people value freedom and liberty for everyone. Why are you snickering? Did I forget something? Anyway, it is clear that Southerners are the most free people in the United States, and the above image indicates they are only getting freer. Whereas 41.5 percent of the nation's uninsured lived in the South last fall -- before Obamacare kicked in -- by June the number had risen to 48.9 percent. Just under half of all uninsured Americans are Southerners, even though the South is only 37 percent of our country's population according to the 2010 census. Those in the South and elsewhere who remain free from the tyranny of health insurance coverage can thank their liberty-loving Republican elected officials for rejecting the expansion of Medicaid offered to their states by Obamacare.

And if the folks who support the recent ruling by the D.C.-based U.S. Court of Appeals in the Halbig v. Burwell case have their way, 5 million or so Americans living in the states whose governments refused to set up state-based Obamacare exchanges will find themselves free of government subsidies to pay for their health insurance premiums. Yay for liberty! Those states are disproportionately in the South, where a tiny percentage of the region's population (those in Kentucky and Arkansas) live in a state that would be unaffected by the Halbig decision.

Nationwide, of all the states that have purely federal exchanges, only two (Missouri and Montana) have Democratic governors, and both of those have state legislatures overwhelmingly dominated by Republicans who were all too happy to block their states from establishing exchanges.

It is abundantly clear that Southerners and all other Americans who love freedom from government protections and premium subsidies relating to health insurance know exactly whom to thank.