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Krystal Clear

Krystal explains why the fate of 17 million uninsured Americans now lie in the hands of the country's governors. So, suppose your boss wants you to work

Krystal explains why the fate of 17 million uninsured Americans now lie in the hands of the country's governors. 

So, suppose your boss wants you to work overtime and you really need more money, but don’t want to work anymore hours.  Your boss says, I’ll pay you ten times your hourly rate for each hour of overtime. You’d reject it out of hand... right? OK, no reasonable person would actually behave in this way.  What kind of hardheaded person can’t say yes to 90% of what they want?

Well, allow me to introduce you to Governor Rick Perry of Texas. You know, the guy who wants to eliminate a bunch of federal government agencies but can’t be bothered to remember exactly which ones. And the guy who, along with his Republican primary compatriots would reject a spending deal with a spending cut to tax raise ratio of 10 to 1.

Well, Rick Perry and other GOP governors were just given a real world 10 for 1 choice by the Supreme Court.  In upholding the individual mandate, the Supreme Court allowed states to determine on their own whether they would expand Medicaid access to poor people.  In other words, states can decide if they want to cover more poor people under the Federal Medicaid insurance program and have the Federal government pay the tab.  In normal times, this would be no big deal. After all, who would say “Thanks but no thanks” to the Federal Government offering 90 cents on the dollar in funds to help the residents of your state, 100 cents on the dollar in the early years! Unfortunately, these are not normal times.

Rick Perry happens to be governor of the state with the highest ratio of uninsured residents in the country. 1 in 4 Texas residents have no health insurance. Costs have sky-rocketed faster than the national average. But do you think that means Rick Perry is going to go along with the Federal Government plan? And Texas isn’t alone here.  Already 7 states have said they’re opting out and another 8 look likely to. 

In Texas alone that means 2 million residents will continue without health insurance.   The states refusing Federal money just happen to be the ones with the highest number of uninsured residents. These states have done the worst job of covering the uninsured, have the greatest need for Federal assistance and are the least likely to accept help-if that’s not politics over principal, I don’t know what is.

17 million uninsured Americans can’t wait another decade until Republicans have moved onto another litmus test, like privatizing the military, eliminating public education or requiring poor people to pay more taxes.

I could care less whether you call the mandate a tax or a penalty or a Liberty Freedom Go America Surcharge. What I do care about is 50 million Americans without health insurance, many of whom will die unnecessarily from preventable causes.  Right now, the fate of 17 million of these uninsured Americans is in the hands of America’s governors. Is choosing politics over sacrificing the right of the uninsured a winning plan? I hope and think not.