Red State Medicaid Donut Hole Death Panels

Millions of Americans are now realizing that they’re too poor to afford Obamacare – and it’s all thanks to Republican lawmakers across the country.

Twenty-five states - which are either controlled by a Republican governor or have a Republican legislature - have refused to expand Medicaid coverage to their citizens under Obamacare - in what are purely political moves. As a result of the “red-state donut-hole” - nearly 5 million Americans remain uninsured - and are unable to get healthcare through Obamacare.

And - a recent study by researchers at Harvard University and the City University of New York found that as many as 17,000 Americans could die directly because of "the lack of Medicaid expansion in opt-out states." So - millions of Americans will still be without healthcare thanks to Republicans. It's time to force Republican lawmakers to finally embrace Medicaid expansion - like they did when it was first rolled out in 1965. If they won't then 2014 is the time to vote them out of office, for refusing to accept federal tax dollars that would give health coverage for the poor.


msiffin's picture
msiffin 9 years 8 weeks ago

Dear Thom,

In regards to voting out the GOP in 2014 due to their refusal to accept federally allocated funds in order to allow for Obamacare in the states they control, I for one sure hope you're right. I just don't understand what benefits GOP members receive other than the satisfaction of spite they acquire by actually and purposely denying health benefits to their own constituents? I imagine their motives and actions are based upon their committment to oppose Obama on *any* initiative he or his Cabinet might recommend. For goodness sakes, if Obama says it's day, the GOP must retort, "Oh, Nooooo...It's is NIGHT! It's so old and tiring. nearly 6 years and counting....Ugh!


Mike Siffin

Colorado Springs, CO.

michaelmoore052's picture
michaelmoore052 9 years 8 weeks ago

I hope the Republicans believe in hell, because they're sure as hell not getting into the Lord's Heaven. Not that way.

douglas m 9 years 8 weeks ago

America, Biggest financial institution for the banks in the world and no coverage for all!

Vote them out, make them work for minimum wage, how do you make congress a public servant job

Instead of a ludicrous retirement package deal? With full free healthcare no less!

johnbest's picture
johnbest 9 years 8 weeks ago

Let's all get together and send them all to Hell this November.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 9 years 8 weeks ago

The Republicans have aptly been called terrorists as more people die as a result of their cuts (to everything from medicaid, to food stamps, to mosquito control to prevent spread of mosquito borne diseases, etc.) than many 9/11s worth of casualties.

Don't think the Red State dumb-asses won't vote for them again anyway, even because they wouldn't expand Medicaid!

BMetcalfe's picture
BMetcalfe 9 years 8 weeks ago

In theory I agree with this, but in fact... those who reside daily so far below the affordable insurance line are struggling, just to keep a roof over themselves and their family members. I wonder if these voters can afford the time and bus fare to worry about standing in 3+ hour long lines to vote. Mid-term voting usually gets far less participants than Presidential year elections. And sadly, a lot of employers who are giving these people a few hours of work a week are unlikely to be compassionate to their voting needs. The employers are worried about their own bottom lines, and having people in step with their own values which normally do not include below or at minimum wage earners.

Victhpooh's picture
Victhpooh 9 years 8 weeks ago

I think that the red state legislatures and governors are getting exactly what they want and unfortunately most of the voters are getting what they deserve. Even sadder is that the people they listen to on the radio and get their information from in other ways will pound into them that its a failure of the 'government' and 'Obama's fault'. They will happily believe it.They will continue to vote for people who could care less about their plight and the cycle will continue.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 8 weeks ago

17,000 American casualties all due to petty politics. All in red states. Republicans will go to any extreme; including, sacrificing their own constituency upon the altar of spite--culling their own herd. Literally cutting off their nose to spite their face. Talk about a bunch of Lemmings. What kind of mentality continues to follow the path of the upside down star studded elephant in this sick circus show of sycophants?

On the bright side, one way or another, there will be less Republican voters.

Suze O's picture
Suze O 9 years 8 weeks ago

You would think by now that the Republicans would have disgusted most Americans that they would have difficulty getting re-elected. Ordinarily, that should be the case. I'm just afraid that their sense of impunity is coming from a conviction they have that they can remain in power despite their unpopularity. As we have seen, they are mounting all kinds of obstructions to voting, using their majorities in several states to redistrict their legislators into safer seats, as well as using vast sums of money and think-tank propaganda to sow doubt and swing voters their way. Worse, I have seen evidence in many races, especially since 2000, that voting machines and private vote-counting companies are changing the outcomes of elections to their advantage. I have heard it said that working WITHIN electoral systems is often the way fascists gain control of governments. Mussolini defined fascism as the union of corporate and state power, precisely the situation we are confronting. That has me VERY worried.

j.jonik 9 years 8 weeks ago

It was Hillary and Bill Clinton (Dimocrats) that pushed this Insurance Windfall Act (invented by right wing Heritage Foundation, etc.) so prominently, and now it's Clinton II...Obama ("lesser evil than Repugs") who's doing the same thing....doing more harm to advocacy for Single Payer than even the worst Repugs.

It's not the GOP that's doing the most harm (though pretendng to threaten maximum cruelty)'s the Dems...precisely because they are painted as the Lesser Evil. People, unavailing themselves of adequate info, trust Dems more. Like people trust priests more. Obama got elected, after all, as being the (percieved) ALTERNATIVE to the Bush League. Nice trick. He's worse in so many ways....just as Clinton became one of the worst "conservative" presdents in history...with his NAFTA, "Salvage Logging", dumping Habeas Corpus, Iraq Sanctions, bombing the Pharm plant in Sudan, and other things a Bush or Reagan would not have gotten done. Ah, but Bubba was "nicer", "less evil".

And Obama is any better?

The big trick here is...if Repugs OPPOSE Obamacare, thoughtless Dems (even "lefties" !) just go robotic to automatically oppose the Repugs to defend Exacltly What the Corporatocracy Wants. Nuts, eh?

If Democrats stood up for Single Payer, and the GOP would be Case Closed...and the US would be long on its way to have a Public Funded and Public Administered health system...with everyone in the land duly covered, and saving untold fortunes now wasted on insurer profits, CEO bonuses, insurer Wall St investments, advertising, lobbying, trade conventions, lush insurer corporate campuses, etc.

Cripes....barely anyone even knows that the for-profit health insuers...which many feel compelled to patronize by threats from the IRS...are Billion Dollar investors in the likes of Cigarette Manufacturers, Big Coal, Big Fracking, Big Chlorine-Dioxin, Big Pesticides, Big Military, Big Nukes, Big GMOs and all the rest of the worst of the worst health DAMAGING industries. THAT is our "health care" system.

Perhaps Thom will one day further reveal health insurers' huge economic links to those industries, and question why nicer (?) Dems go along with that for a minute. "Obamacare" funnels obscene fortunes to some, or most, of the top Repug corporate interests. Every penny of that is funnelled away from people who need the health care.

Search up terms like "Insurers invest in tobacco". Or "PNHP Insurers Tobacco Investments", etc. No secret. Just both sides. Dims and Repugs are clearly on the Same Corporate Side, doing a lot of veritable Pro Wrestling...pretending to be battling. Mainstream audience, sadly, buys that.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 8 weeks ago

j.jonik --- Essentially, I only listen to Thom and Amy Goodman and I think the dems are very different than the repugs. I base what I think on how they vote. Trying to push the Employee Free Choice Act through congress is about as anti-corprate legislation as there is. However, the reason I think voting for the dems will turn our economy around is based on the legislation they passed and attempted to pass.

In the 13 weeks of the 5 years of the Obama presidency in which the dems had control of the congress they accomplished a lot.

1 Chrysler saved

2 GM Saved

3 AHCA passed (AKA Obamacare); (because of blue dogs like Max Baucus it was not a single player plan; to get Sen Baucus to sign it, Max's county got single payer.)

4 Middle class tax cut

5 Went from losing 750,000 per month to 30 straight months of job gains (in spite of Republican governors cutting 4.5 million jobs)

6 Education spending increased

7 Laws against hate crimes strengthened

8 CHIPS expanded (Children’s Health Insurance Program)

9 Forced through Child Labor Laws

10 consumer protection agency formed

11 Credit card reform

12 Predatory lending to soldiers restricted

13 Troops paid for stop loss time

14 Torture stopped

15 VA spending increased

16 Women allowed to serve on subs

17 Equal pay for women

18 Nuclear arms reduction proposal

19 BP cleanup fund

20 EPA strengthened

21 FDA powers broadened

22 Healthcare for 9-11 responders funded (during Bush Term it was ignored)

23 DADT was repealed

24 Within 24 hours of his inauguration in 2009, he ordered that the financial statistics of the top 400 families should be treated like everyone else's; that is, they should not be a classified government document.

Even when the dems did not have control they demonstrated their support of the 99%.

25 When the congress was adding Part D to Medicare (the prescription drug assist; I think it was in 2004) the democrats tried to pass an amendment to help fund it by a 1% income tax on incomes over 1 million.

26 In 2009-10 when Obama lost his filibuster proof senate, the senate had a record number of filibusters (380 or so); during LBJ's 6 year reign as senate majority leader there was one.

27 The bills that were filibustered would have helped our economy for both the long and short term. My favorites were the card check bill, the Disclose Act, stopping waivers for the Buy American Act of 1936 and the credits for bringing jobs back (no credits for tearing down factories to send jobs overseas.

28 Republicans supported the Reinhart-Rogoff Study used to push austerity throughout the world; The study was a total scam supported by Pete Peterson who wants all the social security money invested on wall street. It was easy to suck in democrats and the general public because too much debt being a bad thing makes intuitive sense.

richinfolsom 9 years 8 weeks ago

They said the California Covered website was said to be much better than the national website. If that's the case, I really feel for those seeking to sign up. The process was convoluted and frequently frozhum human help was nearly impossible to obtain with 30 minute waiting - and then no one is there. Finally made progress to select a plan and found my income just above the threshold in which I would receive assistance.

The program advertises "options" with varying levels of deductibles and copays. I have not had full scale healthcare and need medical attention - a hernia repair and recently referred to a cardiologist to treat atrial fibulation. I still don't have healthcare coverage.

The "plans" are but casino wagering options With deductibles up to $5000 plus $350 per month. If you get sick (or already need medical care) it is going to cost the deductible plus $4,200 for 12 monthly payments - grand total $9,200 per year. The plan I selected - but still don't have the cash to buy - is $650 per month ($7,800 / year). (It's been a month and I never received a letter from Kaiser.)

i own my own business. I work hard. I make too much to qualify for subsidies. I don't make enough to pay rent, my taxes, and health insurance - something that might keep me from having a stroke. PI grew up believing in America. I worked hard all may life. Do not know when it happened - but somewhere along the contract was rescinded by the corporate bosses - and to each their own.

What happened to the dream? What happened to America?

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 8 weeks ago

And here's another thing the dirty Republican Reds are doing to trick people into giving them donation money...those advertisements that show a smiling face of a Democrat is actually a trick to make you think that it is soliciting a donation for them but the fine print says otherwise...

I had read that they did this in California as well, a few years ago, when they were sending out messages with smiling Democrat politicians that seemed to be saying to vote against truth in labeling but it wasn't Democrats behind was the food industry playing a sneaky one on California voters.

drc2 9 years 8 weeks ago

I would blame Obamacare on the GOPimps in my Single Payer, Not for Profit campaign. We need not demonize Obama to show how compromised he has been by the powers that be, and how Imperial and Corporate they are. I would be glad to run the bus over the Corporate Dems in the process. Needless to say, Hillary would have tire tracks all over her, and Bill would be another example of the triangulated.

If we really have no other electoral options that "lesser," we need to make that clear rather than hoping for change through bipartisanship.

drc2 9 years 8 weeks ago

I would blame Obamacare on the GOPimps in my Single Payer, Not for Profit campaign. We need not demonize Obama to show how compromised he has been by the powers that be, and how Imperial and Corporate they are. I would be glad to run the bus over the Corporate Dems in the process. Needless to say, Hillary would have tire tracks all over her, and Bill would be another example of the triangulated.

If we really have no other electoral options that "lesser," we need to make that clear rather than hoping for change through bipartisanship.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 9 years 8 weeks ago

Actually, the Public Option was dropped in the Senate because the Dems needed every Dem and every Independent to vote for ACHA because Repubs promised a filibuster and Joe Liebermann (I., Conn.) would not vote for it otherwise.

Refusing to expand Medicaid hurts the poor and the poor don't vote, as BMetcalfe astutely noted. Throwing them out of the lifeboat allows the Repubs to not anger those who do vote and still keep promoting the divisive, accusatory philosophy of hierarchies of "deservingness" of society's shared wealth - as well as the general philosophy of the basic rectitude of hierarchies of privilege and entitlement.

The Red State "Red Necks" or the Red State masses make the perfect types to play the feudal "peasantry" to the new corporate, oligarchy's "aristocracy" or "nobility". They keep a dark, superstitious faith in the "divine right" of the power, privilege and entitlement of their wealthy "natural masters".

Dems pushed things like the Employee Free Choice Act but didn't push them very hard. At the slightest opposition they throw up their hands and say, "Oh well, we tried." You know it would be different if the majority of the Dems' money still came from unions instead of from the same place the Repubs always got theirs, i.e., big business.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 8 weeks ago

rich... -- What happene was raygun

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 8 weeks ago

rich.... -- What happened was raygun.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 8 weeks ago

Mark S -- Glad to see you are back with us as Mark. I like the way you describe the problem. It would be wonderful if we could get every poor person (the infamous 47%) in the US to read what you have said.

The only disagreement I have with you, how can one determine the dems did not push hard enough on card check? One could say they could pass it 40 times in the house like the repugs did on the repeal of Obamacare. However, Nancy P and the group had 390 filibustered bills. Whose has time to do the same one 40 times.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 9 years 8 weeks ago

Really shouldn't revert to divisive prejudice or regional racisms against Red State "Red Necks", as it were. Should really, probably, finally bury the hatchet of the Civil War although the "Red State masses", nevertheless, do seem more susceptible to the divisive campaigns of the Repubs.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 8 weeks ago

Isn't it ironic how the CONSERVATIVES are always the ones hollering about "death panels"! As if we didn't already have fucking death panels... Hey, can't get more uniquely American than that! The Flag, apple pie, baseball and death panels... YEAH! God bless America!

Mark, I guess you're right about the problem with "divisive regional prejudices" against "red state rednecks"... but where I live in southwestern Oregon, there seem to be a few of these idiots bumbling around. Everytime I see one of their dumb-ass confederate flags, I want to shout: "Ya lost the war! Get over it!" - Aliceinwonderland

Craig Bush's picture
Craig Bush 9 years 8 weeks ago

For over 35 years I had Blue Cross. Till I lost my job. That was not health insurance. It was health extortion. My wife, a teacher had good coverage. But, they switched health care providers on her near the end from her battle with breast cancer. This speeded up her demise. Probably a policy to save them money. I lost my son at 42. He had Blue Cross but it didn't cover "special" services which would have saved his lfe. It was a simple laser procedure using new technology. Ten years ago I was sent home from the hospital and told there was nothing they could do and to get my "things' in order. i never understood what that meant? In our society, if your uninsured and have to wait for your ailment to reach an emergency, then you have been handed a death sentence. Add up all those tens of thousands that died in America without access to healthcare over the years. We have an immoral two-tier health care system even after obamacare.

My injury was a bout with a terrible flu and I was taking ibuprofen for two weeks. 7 days too long. The tiny fine print should read "if you take ibuprofen longer then 7 days you can die" in bold print. Thousands die every year from over the counter drugs. Pharmeuticals are the #1 cause of unnatural death for seniors. I have learned I can survive better by avoiding our health care system. I brought my self back to life with natural healing using important phyto-nutrients and pro-biotics.

We cannot settle for Obamacare as a final solution to healthcare. We must push on for single payer. Why should health care insurance executives be earning more then medical doctors? Insurance carriers are providing a bookeeping service. We can do it for 3%. Why do we continue to let them skim off 20%? This is not good business for our economy and our health care delivery. We must end the vultures, who have nothing to do with healthcare, from profiting from the human misery of our society.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 8 weeks ago

Craig Bush: Sorry to hear about your wife and your son. That is just so sad. Anyway, I certainly agree with you about our defunct healthcare system in the US. It really is criminal. And they get away with it! I have just recently started Probiotics, myself. Can't let the bad bacteria outnumber the good bacteria in our stomach and intestines! I think it should be a ratio of about 60/40..good to bad..and as we age, so I'm told, the bad bacteria often tends to outnumber the good so we need to add the good bacteria. That's about all I think I know about it. It's all really new to me.

And I agree..that even when I was working and was covered by insurance...I'd very rarely need to see a doctor...and when I did...I always had the strong feeling that I could have done better by just not even going to the doctor. I even had the chance to opt-out and get paid $10,000 a year for going without company health insurance but didn't do it. I kept my insurance. And so, I may have seen the doctor once or twice since I eventually retired early. And just went to using VA for the prescription medications I needed till I turned 65 in order to get Medicare....which I haven't even used yet. But, know one knows what terrible thing might happen matter how healthy one is.

I just hope I don't go out like my friend who died in pain and agony for many months before he died of cancer in a VA hospital. And I'm convinced that his VA doctor was negligent in diagnosing his disease in the very beginning when the pains started. Pills, pills, and more pills...then he was slated for physical therapy...but when he went to emergency, against his doctors wishes, they found the metastasized cancer.

About the same thing happened to a co-worker's wife but that was in a civilian healthcare system. But she was able to respond positively to the chemo treatments. The doctors should have diagnosed her cancer much earlier than they did.

I really think that what it comes down to...whether you have insurance or how wealthy you are and how much money can they bilk you out of before you die. If you are rich, they'll save you. If you aren't, they won't. They'll just milk us dry before we die!

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 9 years 8 weeks ago

Actually it's more a matter of urban vs. rural. They say the rural vote red (like upstate New York and downstate Illinois) and the urban vote blue (like NYC or Chicago) and that the blue states are blue because of the big cities within them. One also musn't be prejudiced against rural folk but they do live in less diverse communities, have less internet access and less media other than Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 8 weeks ago

Mark, the area where I live is rural. But even in these crazy times, good media sources are available to anyone who's interested in accessing them. I listen to Thom Hartmann and Randi Rhodes on the radio several times a week; I watch Democracy Now online, and I subscribe to two great magazines. Even in this rural town, you don't have to be a know-nothing redneck unless you choose to be.

Craig, I am so sorry to hear of your wife and son's untimely deaths. That's two more casualties of this uniquely American system of pay-or-die extortion I've learned about on this blog! What makes me crazy about your story is that you and your wife had already paid huge chunks of cash into the system, before you wound up losing her and the kid anyway; to what sound like preventable causes. Damn... it's one of those rare moments here when words fail me. I don't know how anyone copes with a loss of that magnitude. You must be made of sturdy stuff. - Aliceinwonderland

BrianElliott0218 9 years 7 weeks ago

J Jonik - Personally, I feel you are ALMOST right about a lot of your (quite long) response to the issue, however...
You kind of miss the point a little. In politics today, you have to work across the aisle to get something (anything) done, and have some flaws in it that the opposition can take advantage of (like GOP Governors following the Party Line on killing the ACA by NOT allowing medicare to kick in for the poor who cannot afford the fees). In the case of this donut hole, I hope what we see is a strong voter response, and a Democratic majority after the mid-term elections. This "take-over" will be a coupe for the current administration, and they should take advantage of the situation to "fix" the problem that the GOP has provided. So, as a foot in the door move, we have an essentially imperfect ACA that will need a major overhaul. That overhaul can (SHOULD) be the one payer resolution getting pushed through, and everyone (except those who opt out for higher paid insurance) can benefit from it. This is all dependant apon a strong sensible voter turnout in November... I have my hopes, and my doubts...

Politics is a magic trick; You have to provide some misdirection to get your trick to come off properly.

Hey you Republican Asshats... Over there! Look! They are selling birth control pills! Go get em! Maybe you can get the women arrested for "pre-child" abuse! (wish I was kidding...).

BrianElliott0218 9 years 7 weeks ago

Alice, in my rural area outside of Portland OR, we got our ONLY progressive / left / non-Tea Party spewing radio station shut down by Clear Channel monopolists, and you know who they have on that station now? Fox Sports. Talk about insult to injury!!!

Yes, I still have a little NPR, OPB, but really, KPOJ was awesome! Now it's just another distraction... I don't listen to sports, especially Fox Sports.

We have the internet, and we could pay for some rags, but really, free airwaves have been available for many decades, and now, they are ALL bought up by giant corps whose bread is buttered by the uber wealthy who are trying to change us into a full blown oligarchy.

We need to remind the FCC that We the People own those radio waves, and NOT the corporate lessors. Stop the Corporate Lobbies from writing ANY more legislation for us.

We should think about the Commons, and what can and cannot be taken away from the Commons by the Corporations. We lose our grasp of control with the loss of the Commons. This is NOT Socialism, nor Communism that I am speaking of. Just simply the airwaves, the air, water, and to a degree, the power grid.

Take back America!

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 7 weeks ago

Point well taken, Brian E. I concur. And Fox's takeover of your progressive station sounds absolutely infuriating. Insult to injury, indeed. - AIW

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 7 weeks ago

I wonder how hard it would be for roving bands of "renegade" Fox channel frequency disruptors to, as a form of protest, disrupt the right wing propaganda around the nation? I kind of wonder if right wingers aren't already doing that to the lefty channels I watch. It happens all the time on RT, FSTV, Link TV...important points of a conversation are disrupted, some kind of interference, which tends to confuse what is being said. And since these channels usually do not have captions it is very discouraging. It could just be the channels...but I hardly ever see the same kind of thing on any of the other channels.

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