For a great nation like the United States, it is not only
embarrassing, but also morally reprehensible that there are still millions of
American citizens who in principle could have healthcare coverage but are being
denied that benefit for purely political reasons. Ideologically driven
governors in Red states would rather defy the efforts of President Obama to
expand healthcare coverage for all their citizens than provide this most basic
human service to their citizens. I draw this conclusion simply because their
alleged reason for refusing to expand Medicaid—that expanded coverage will be
unaffordable—is simply not true. With Medicaid expansion, the federal
government will significantly underwrite most of the costs and without states
are on their own in the most inefficient healthcare system possible—they get no
access to basic primary care but if they get acutely sick they can show up at
an ER and utilize the system at time where cost is exorbitant and goals are
limited. It is an abomination how healthcare has been a political football for
decades while people with medical needs are allowed to suffer and die.
But it is not just patients without healthcare coverage who
lack access to medical care—it is also millions of patients with coverage. Medicaid
currently covers over 70 million Americans, yet many of these patients are not
able to find a physician who will accept them. In a 2011 national
survey of physicians, 31% were unwilling to accept Medicaid patients; in
certain states the rates are much higher—for example, in New Jersey only 40% of
physicians accepted Medicaid patients.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.