“Completely Avoidable”: Republicans’ Failure to Expand Medicaid Leaves Millions Vulnerable During COVID-19 Pandemic
For years, Republican governors and legislatures have been railing against Medicaid expansion at the state level – and the results are in. Because of their efforts, tens of thousands of Americans will go uninsured during the coronavirus pandemic.
A new study from the Urban Institute estimates that 25 to 43 million Americans will lose their job and their health insurance due to the pandemic. In the 14 states that have refused to expand Medicaid, 40 percent of people who lose their health insurance will end up with no coverage at all. These 14 states all have Republican governors or Republican legislatures that have blocked Democratic governors from increasing access to health care.
Uninsured Americans who suspect they have coronavirus are less likely to seek testing and treatment. And if they do choose to get help, they could end up with astronomical medical bills, resulting in financial ruin.
To make matters worse – rural hospitals in the states that refused to expand Medicaid are more susceptible to closure. Just look at Missouri – Gov. Mike Parson doubled down on his refusal to expand Medicaid earlier this year, and now, 44 of Missouri’s 114 counties are without a hospital and more than half of the state’s counties have no ICU beds.
So in conclusion, Republicans turned down billions of dollars in federal aid and refused to expand Medicaid, resulting in rural hospital closures and skyrocketing numbers of uninsured Americans. And it was all preventable.
“Republicans have been fighting for years against Medicaid expansion – and now Americans are suffering the consequences,” said DGA Communications Director David Turner. “Democratic governors have taken steps in their states to expand Medicaid and access to health care, but the coronavirus doesn’t stop at state borders. Uninsured Americans are less likely to seek testing and treatment and could end up spreading the virus all over the country. By refusing to provide access to health care before this crisis, Republican governors made the pandemic worse and put greater financial strain on uninsured and underinsured Americans.”