Republican healthcare: “Don’t get sick!”


Republican opposition to expanded Medicaid is based on the idea; if you can’t afford it don’t get sick. As a result of their obstinacy the sickest states are becoming even sicker. Midwest, West Coast and New England states that have adopted expansion already have better access to doctors and are less likely to suffer deaths due to unnecessary illness. Colon cancer deaths, for example, average 8% higher in anti-Medicaid states. Adults of working age are likely to have lost six or more teeth due to decay, infection, or gum disease in anti-Medicaid states. Conservatives argue that the poor should work harder to not get sick. Sickness, say conservatives, is a responsibility of life and if you are sick it’s your own fault. Conservatives believe workers are moochers and will fall into a “dependency trap” under Medicaid. Conservatives, however, offer no alternative except, “don’t get sick.” In Massachusetts, healthcare programs developed under then-governor Romney, cover 95% of adults compared to Texas with only 68%. Preventable deaths in Texas, in turn, are 36% higher than in Massachusetts. For decades, Republicans have resisted lobbying for medical expansion from doctors, hospitals, churches and business leaders. Republican governors, who want to expand Medicaid, have been blocked by conservatives legislators who believe that medicine is a burden that individuals must bear. Evidence is growing, however, that greater healthcare provides benefits for the whole of society. Preventable care, delayed care, emergency care, and work time lost to sickness are major unnecessary expenses that result from poor healthcare. In the end, the sickest states that continue to resist progress and reform will end up becoming poorer states as well. 


Richard Dorsey, Hacienda Heights, CA


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