01/16/2013 12:15 pm ET

Paul Krugman: Anti-Obamacare Governors Risk Killing Poor People

Anti-Obamacare governors are boosting their political profiles on the backs of their suffering constituents, according to Paul Krugman.

Ten Republican governors -- including the governors of Texas, South Carolina and Louisiana -- have refused to participate in Obamacare's expansion of Medicaid, which would have allowed their residents who earn up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level to get public health coverage.

"Refusing to expand Medicaid would impose huge suffering on lots of poor people, and kill some of them; for people like Jan Brewer, that's a plus," Krugman wrote in a blog post on Tuesday. "But it would also hurt the profits of big health-industry corporations. What's a conservative to do?"

Though Krugman criticized Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R), she broke from the ranks of many of her Republican colleagues Monday when she announced that her state will participate in the Medicaid expansion. Nonetheless, Brewer said in November that her opposition to Obamacare is "unwavering" when she rejected implementing a state-run health insurance exchange as part of health care reform. The Medicaid expansion presumably would help the health care industry because it would enable more patients to get health care regularly.

The Medicaid expansion aims to help poor Americans who are going without health insurance (many because they make too much money to qualify for Medicaid). The problem is widespread: 15.7 percent of Americans lacked health insurance in 2011, putting them at risk of worse health and massive medical bills.

Many Republicans are avowed enemies of Obamacare, which will expand health insurance to an estimated 30 million people. Some Congressional Republicans even support repealing the health care law.



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