Several Republican-led states at the forefront of the campaign to undermine President Obama’s health-care law have come up with new ways to try to thwart it, refusing to enforce consumer protections, for example, and restricting federally funded workers hired to help people enroll in coverage.
And in at least one state, Missouri, local officials have been barred from doing anything to help put the law into place.
The actions have drawn less attention than congressional efforts to cut off funding for the law, or earlier state decisions to refuse to set up online insurance marketplaces or reject an expansion of Medicaid, which sharply limited the law’s reach.
But the moves could impede Obama’s most significant domestic accomplishment, which, despite having withstood a Supreme Court challenge and a presidential election, still faces doubts about its viability. And they could affect implementation at a crucial time, just as some of the major provisions of the law, also known as Obamacare, are set to go into effect.
Now understand these are real people behind these numbers, millions of them, as McClatchy points out in the 21 states where Republicans are actively trying to shut down Obamacare. They're calling it the "coverage gap"
With limited access to preventative care, many in the coverage gap with manageable chronic illnesses could end up seeking primary care services in hospital emergency rooms, where medical aid is costly and fleeting.
“If they fail to get an insurance card and don’t have ongoing adequate coverage, that’s how they’re going to continue to get care, in the most expensive, least efficient, least helpful way that they can,” said Ellen Kugler, executive director of the National Association of Urban Hospitals.
Gerald Friedman, a health care economist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, summarized the options for those caught in the coverage gap.
“There’s no way they can afford individual coverage at that income level, so they’ll do what they do now, which is they go to the free care pools in the hospitals, they go to public health clinics, they borrow from friends, they go to free clinics,” Friedman said, “and they just get sicker and sicker.”
These are real consequences, and real people who will be hurt here, not some nebulous collection of stats and charts. It's going to do real damage to people, not to mention hospitals, providers, emergency rooms, families, you name it.
Republicans are willing to cause serious damage to the health of millions just because they hate Obama. That's everything you need to know about the GOP in 2013.