I have written about the unbelievable cruelty shown by those states that refused to expand Medicaid so that those people who are too poor to be covered by the subsidies offered by the Affordable Care Act could obtain health insurance anyway. As a result, we have the predicable result that some people are now dying because they have no health insurance.
Bill Manes has written an excellent article about such cases, focusing on Charlene Dill, a 32-year old working mother of three small children. In the process, he also describes the complexities of life when one is poor.
Charlene Dill didn’t have to die.
Dill’s death was not unpredictable, nor was it unpreventable. She had a documented heart condition for which she took medication. But she also happened to be one of the people who fall within the gap created by the 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allowed states to opt out of Medicaid expansion, which was a key part of the Affordable Care Act’s intention to make health care available to everyone. In the ensuing two years, 23 states have refused to expand Medicaid, including Florida, which rejected $51 billion from the federal government over the period of a decade to overhaul its Medicaid program to include people like Dill and Woolrich – people who work, but do not make enough money to qualify for the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies. They, like many, are victims of a political war – one that puts the lives and health of up to 17,000 U.S. residents and 2,000 Floridians annually in jeopardy, all in the name of rebelling against President Barack Obama’s health care plan.
These are the people in the coverage gap – the unknowns, the single mothers, the not-quite-retired – the unnamed 750,000 Floridians who are suffering while legislators in Tallahassee refuse to address the issue in this year’s legislative session, which ends on May 2. The working poor – who used to be the middle class – are on a crash course with disaster for no logical reason. Charlene Dill, at the age of 32, didn’t have to die.
I have a deep hatred in my heart for those politicians who did this to people like Dill. They are scum. There is no other word to describe them.