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So in case you haven't heard there are 21 states that are rejecting the Medicaid expansion. Nearly 6 million Americans who COULD be eligible for free health care will not be able to get it because Republicans hate Obama more than they care about their constituents. Except, there's a development happening that has a damned good chance of backfiring on them.

I spoke with someone at HHS about a week ago because our Sabotage States campsign needed a simple answer to a simple question:

If a state is currently opted out of the expansion and say, three months or six months from now they "changed their minds about it", for whatever reason, could they immediately petition HHS for funds for the expansion?
This was my question. Obviously, I was hoping to hear that they could opt-in at any time because it would be great news for activists in those states.

Well, the answer was yes. Any state currently opted out could opt-in at any time. No need to wait for the next fiscal year, the next open enrollment season - none of that. ANYTIME. This was GREAT NEWS.

But then yesterday, I saw this in the Huffington Post.

The federal government wants poor residents of states not expanding Medicaid under President Barack Obama's health care reform law to know who's denying them health coverage -- and the administration has a plan to make sure they find out.

When Americans begin shopping for benefits on the law's health insurance exchanges on Oct. 1, the people who would qualify for Medicaid but live in the 20-plus states where Republican governors or state legislators won't approve the expansion will see a note explaining that federal law allows them to get coverage that their states' leaders won't provide them. A senior administration official told reporters about the note Friday.

This is news, great news. But it's also politically brilliant. Most of these Republican legislators know the expansion is a good idea. I've spoken with some in recalcitrant states for ACA-related stories for the magazine. They don't sound too convinced that the expansion is THEENEDOFCIVILIZATIONASWEKNOWITZOMG! But they've boxed themselves into an ideological corner.

What is about to happen is this: republican constituents are going to demand health coverage, especially when they realize it would be little or no cost to them. Legislators will be "forced" to accept the expansion. And constituents will begin to wonder why the fuck they didn't approve this before. Democrats will chime in: "Because they hate you, that's why. Stop voting against you own interests. Elect a Democrat". And when constituents fall down and break their ankle, they'll be glad to not be strapped with $50,000 in debt because of it. And they'll remember it all.

Oh. And BTW, it's called OBAMACARE, thankyouverymuch.

In other ACA related news:

Enroll America has touched down in Florida and is kicking off their nationwide ACA educational campaign by training 25 organizers who will go back to their communities, (OFA-style) and begin a boots-on-the-ground educational effort to help citizens understand everything they need to know about Obamacare.

This is a confluence of a non-profit, funded in part by some of Obama's most deep pocketed donors, and the Obama for America ground game strategy. There will be door knock and phone banking, apparently. I spoke with someone at Enroll America and learned this is going to be implemented in every state. Their focus is on those who will be purchasing insurance on the exchange, not those who would be served by the Medicaid Expansion but I'm working hard to create an alliance with them so that those who discover they cannot get coverage (because of a state's opting out) have the phone numbers of their idiot GOP representatives to call ad nauseum and tools to let their friends and family know exactly what is going on. To reinforce that "note" the President will be sending them and give them something to DO ABOUT IT.

The Law of Unintended Consequences is working against the GOP. While the Kochs shell out millions (billions?) of dollars on lies about Obamacare, actual health insurance companies, their BFFs back in 2009/10, are launching HUGE educational efforts in every state to attract new enrollees. In Florida alone, one insurance company on the exchange has arranged 3000 educational sessions across the state already. That free market is a bitch, I guess.

UPDATE: h/t ericlewis0 - It seems the nation's biggest pharmacy chain and one of the biggest insurance companies are teaming up to educate voters citizens about their options under Obamacare. Hm. That "free market" thing is a thing, apparently.

So not only do we have a nationwide educational effort about Obamacare taking off, we have insurance companies vying for customers and reaching out AND a president who has determined to let residents of Sabotage States know just how much their GOP representatives give a shit about their health, their lives and the health of their families. This is the opportunity of a lifetime for Democrats in red states and in every district where there's a sitting republicans (or Democrat, dare I say) who voted against Obamacare and the medicaid expansion in their state.

UPDATE: WHO ARE THOSE WHO NEED THE EXPANSION?

I want to make sure you all understand just WHO the people are who would benefit from this medicaid expansion are. Here's a quick summary. If you want something more in-depth, please message me. I have charts "and stuff".

Single parent, with one child earning $9.50/hour working full time (40 hours a week) earns $19,760/yr
-Not eligible for medicaid at this salary level today (cut off is $15,510). Would be eligible under Medicaid expansion (cut off $21,403)

Seasonal worker, freelancer, entrepreneur, tip-relaiant employee, no kids, earning $15,000 per year
- Not eligible for medicaid now (cut off is $11,490). Would be under eligible the medicaid expansion (cut off is $15,856)

Single older American, age 56, no dependents. (Kids grown and moved out). Not older enough for medicare, still working 30 hours a week at Macy's for $9/hr ears $14,040 now. Too much for medicaid now (cut off $11,490) (and wouldn't qualify anyway in many states because they are not disabled and have no dependents). But under the expansion, eligible (new cut off is $15,856).

Family of four, two earners, two kids.
One earner makes $8.25/hour works 30 hours a week 52 weeks a year $12,870. Other earner makes $9.50/hour, works 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year $19,000. Total household income is $31,870 – Too much for eligibility right now (cut off is $23,550). Would be eligible under expansion (cut off is $32,499)

This is us. This is many here. This is many people you know. This is not the "poor" in the colloquial sense. This is people who are working, struggling, and trying to make it in today's America. They don't earn much. But they are making due. Praying they don;t get sick partly because they can;t afford to take time off from work and partly because they can't afford a doctor. These are 6 million Americans in those 21 states. Let's FIGHT FOR THEM because they are us. Or could be at any time.

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