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U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates talks to soldiers deployed to field operating base Airborne in the Wardak Province, Afghanistan, after reenlisting eight soldiers, May 8, 2009. Secretary Gates visited Afghanistan and met with military and local leaders. DOD photo by Air Force Master Sgt. Jerry Morrison
Do they all have health insurance now?

While the Veterans Administration healthcare scandal is indeed a cause for bipartisan outrage, there's another scandal that should have even more people up in arms: the nearly five million Americans who are being purposefully left uninsured out of political spite. That number includes many veterans who aren't eligible for or don't have access to care through the VA, and who live in states where the Republican governors and/or legislatures are refusing to expand Medicaid under Obamacare. Ezra Klein has the numbers.

Some of those states that are most adamantly opposed to using Obamacare to provide coverage to more people have the highest number of veterans who are left out: Texas has 48,900 uninsured veterans; North Carolina 23,300; Kansas 35,700; and Florida 12,300. That's in addition to the tens and hundreds of thousands of other people in these states who are too poor to qualify for subsidies on the health exchanges, but make too much to qualify for the states' Medicaid systems.

Pie chart showing percentages of uninused people in non-expansion states, including 33% eligable for subsides, 10 percent eligible for traditional Medicaid, and 57 percent in the coverage gap.
There's just one reason for this: politics. In the case of the VA scandal, it's an often overwhelmed system with stretched resources. That doesn't lessen the seriousness of the extended wait times some veterans are experiencing, or the consequences of their not receiving timely care. But the fact that 250,000 veterans don't have access to any care—only because lawmakers hate President Obama—should be at least as big a political scandal.

Go below the fold for more information on how many individuals and how many veterans are being denied care in the individual states that are refusing Medicaid expansion.

Here's the status of the uninsured, including veterans, in the non-expansion states:

Alabama: Obamacare's Medicaid expansion would provide 272,000 poor Alabamans with comprehensive health insurance, including 13,000 veterans. But the state has refused to let the expansion go forward.

Alaska: Obamacare's Medicaid expansion would provide 30,000 poor Alaskans with comprehensive health insurance, including 2,400 veterans. But the state has refused to let the expansion go forward.

Florida: Obamacare's Medicaid expansion would provide 1,212,000 poor Floridians with comprehensive health insurance, including 12,300 veterans. But the state has refused to let the expansion go forward.

Georgia: Obamacare's Medicaid expansion would provide 599,000 poor Georgians with comprehensive health insurance, including 24,900 veterans. But the state has refused to let the expansion go forward.

Idaho: Obamacare's Medicaid expansion would provide 86,000 poor Idahoans with comprehensive health insurance, including 3,800 veterans. But the state has refused to let the expansion go forward.

Indiana: Obamacare's Medicaid expansion would provide 291,000 poor Indianians with comprehensive health insurance, including 13,700 veterans. Thus far, the state hasn't moved forward, but they're entering into negotiations with the Obama administration to do so soon.

Kansas: Obamacare's Medicaid expansion would provide 126,000 poor Kansans with comprehensive health insurance, including 35,700 veterans. But the state has refused to let the expansion go forward.

Louisiana: Obamacare's Medicaid expansion would provide 363,000 poor Louisianans with comprehensive health insurance, including 9,900 veterans. But the state has refused to let the expansion go forward.

Maine: Obamacare's Medicaid expansion would provide 38,000 poor Mainers with comprehensive health insurance, including 2,700 veterans. But the state has refused to let the expansion go forward.

Mississippi: Obamacare's Medicaid expansion would provide 203,000 poor Mississippians with comprehensive health insurance, including 7,100 veterans. But the state has refused to let the expansion go forward.

Missouri: Obamacare's Medicaid expansion would provide 283,000 poor Missourians with comprehensive health insurance, including 12,800 veterans. But the state has refused to let the expansion go forward.

Montana: Obamacare's Medicaid expansion would provide 63,000 poor Montanans with comprehensive health insurance, including 4,000 veterans. But the state has refused to let the expansion go forward.

Nebraska: Obamacare's Medicaid expansion would provide 56,000 poor Idahoans with comprehensive health insurance, including 2,100 veterans. But the state has refused to let the expansion go forward.

North Carolina: Obamacare's Medicaid expansion would provide 511,000 poor Idahoans with comprehensive health insurance, including 23,300 veterans. But the state has refused to let the expansion go forward.

Oklahoma: Obamacare's Medicaid expansion would provide 201,000 poor Oklahomans with comprehensive health insurance, including 10,000 veterans. But the state has refused to let the expansion go forward.

Pennsylvania: Obamacare's Medicaid expansion would provide 454,000 poor Pennsylvanians with comprehensive health insurance, including 19,100 veterans. But the state has refused to let the expansion go forward.

South Carolina: Obamacare's Medicaid expansion would provide 289,000 poor South Carolinians with comprehensive health insurance, including 13,000 veterans. But the state has refused to let the expansion go forward.

South Dakota: Obamacare's Medicaid expansion would provide 40,000 poor South Dakotans with comprehensive health insurance, including 1,600 veterans. But the state has refused to let the expansion go forward.

Tennessee: Obamacare's Medicaid expansion would provide 266,000 poor Tennesseans with comprehensive health insurance, including 15,800 veterans. But the state has refused to let the expansion go forward.

Texas: Obamacare's Medicaid expansion would provide 1,727,000 poor Texans with comprehensive health insurance, including 48,900 veterans. But the state has refused to let the expansion go forward.

Utah: Obamacare's Medicaid expansion would provide 93,000 poor Utahns with comprehensive health insurance, including 3,800 veterans. But the state has refused to let the expansion go forward.

Virginia: Obamacare's Medicaid expansion would provide 313,000 poor Virginians with comprehensive health insurance, including 12,300 veterans. But the state has refused to let the expansion go forward.

Wisconsin: Obamacare's Medicaid expansion would provide 53,000 poor Wisconsinites with comprehensive health insurance, including 6,400 veterans. But the state has refused to let the expansion go forward.

Wyoming: Obamacare's Medicaid expansion would provide 27,000 poor Wyomingites with comprehensive health insurance, including 1,200 veterans. But the state has refused to let the expansion go forward.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue May 27, 2014 at 08:58 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (34+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Tue May 27, 2014 at 08:58:01 AM PDT

  •  Poor Idahoans invade NC and Nebraska?...;-) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, NedSparks
  •  After his Presidency, there will be many books (12+ / 0-)

    written on Obama and a great deal of vindictiveness will have the light shown right on it. This whole farce will follow the GOP for decades.

    "If you tell the truth, you won't have to remember anything", Mark Twain

    by Cruzankenny on Tue May 27, 2014 at 09:11:38 AM PDT

  •  Thanks Joan. This is an outrage. Why aren't we (13+ / 0-)

    we having Congressional hearings on the failure of states to expand Medicaid coverage leaving poor people uncovered for crass political gain?

    And, also why don't we have a Benghazi like hearing in the Senate on the last 13 years of Republican refusal to expand the VA in proportion to both the surge in injured Vets we've know were returning from the two wars, and also the increased injuries per vet that will need lifetime care due improved body army saving the lives of so many soldier who would have been killed in explosions in previous wars?

    I agree with you. Theses are real scandals.

    Perhaps, we Democrats err when we think this is so obvious we do not have to jump down in the mud and engage in crass political theater like the GOP loves to do. Maybe every time they launch a House select committee to investigate bullshit, we ought to launch a Senate investigation that will be 10 times as painful for them personally.

    And every night through out the fall they imagine dominating the news cycles with their sludge hearing shouting Benghazi we blow that ancient and dull crap off the news with hearings of vets and poor people from their districts telling horror stories of what it is like not to get medical care in Represenative ___ (R) Fill in the blank district because he/she was such an asshole that they wouldn't vote for the funds, or wouldn't accept free funds from the ACA.,

    That's what I want to know. I fear that until we match their BS tit for tat making it more painful they will have no incentive not to keep acting like idiots forever.

    Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Comments and Posts intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited.

    by HoundDog on Tue May 27, 2014 at 09:13:57 AM PDT

    •  Charlie Crist has been shaming Scott (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mr MadAsHell, HoundDog

      for never lifting a finger to sway his Republican colleagues in Tallahassee to expand Medicaid.  

      I'm thinking that I don't want Crist next year to have to give them much of anything as a bipartisan gesture or to use much of his clout.  The more the US Congress helps,  the better for Florida's future.

  •  Perhaps if these states called their expansion (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobcat41702

    plans by some name that would mask what it really is, like they did in Kentucky, their GOPgovs could capitalize on the gratitude and good feeling that the program is generating.  But it is good to see them standing on their standard GOP principles that never include the interests of their fellow Americans.

    Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

    by judyms9 on Tue May 27, 2014 at 09:29:37 AM PDT

  •  This is more than a Health Care Scandal. It is a (5+ / 0-)

    Criminal Justice scandal.

    We know that thousands of people in these states will die because of the refusal to extend this care to them and the fact that the Criminal Justice systems in those states doesn't step in and start making arrests is nothing less than dereliction of duty and in fact it makes them accomplices in the crime of acting with depraved indifference to human life.

    •  Yeah, but that's nothing compared to (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BlueKS, Tortmaster

      Benghazi, right?  /snark

      Your kids are more than a test score, and so are their teachers.

      by gtnoah on Tue May 27, 2014 at 10:34:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There are thousands and thousands ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... of people in the Medicaid Expansion donut hole with diabetes who will have to decide between food and medication. There are thousands and thousands of women who should be getting mammograms. There will be lots of blood on the hands of these murderous Governors.

      My dog likes me because I'm salty. Not salty like a pirate. Salty like a pretzel.

      by Tortmaster on Tue May 27, 2014 at 11:37:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here's something... (6+ / 0-)

    ...that should be constantly restated by Democrats.  A true outrage.  

    I'm not always political, but when I am I vote Democratic. Stay Democratic, my friends. -The Most Interesting Man in the World

    by boran2 on Tue May 27, 2014 at 09:40:50 AM PDT

  •  Spending (5+ / 0-)

    Unless the Federal government picks up the medicaid expansion at 100% in perpetuity Red State governors will always fall back on the argument they can't afford the expansion.

    I suspect once the teaser rate resets and the federal government only picks up 90% of the expansion we will see other states cutting back on Medicaid as well as no one has money in their state budgets right now.

    Medicaid is always the first thing that gets cut in states that aren't deep blue, and we are going to see a wave of it in the coming years most likely once the states have some financial skin in the game.

    •  You make a good point (0+ / 0-)

      that gets overlooked.

      "The next time everyone will pay for it equally, and there won't be any more Chosen Nations, or any Others. Poor bastards all." ~The Boomer Bible

      by just another vet on Tue May 27, 2014 at 10:49:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  CBO Studies have shown at even 90%, ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... the states would only be paying 1.6% more at that time for the Expansion of Medicaid. The same studies show that even this expenditure will be less than what the state governments will have to pay because they refused to Expand Medicaid.

      They will lose more money by failing to Expand.

      I appreciate that Joan McCarter is bringing attention to this sordidness. If there ever was a story that brought to light the evil and stupidity of Tea Party Republicans, this is it.

      My dog likes me because I'm salty. Not salty like a pirate. Salty like a pretzel.

      by Tortmaster on Tue May 27, 2014 at 11:42:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Medicare for All. /nt (6+ / 0-)

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "If we appear to seek the unattainable, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable." (@eState4Column5)

    by annieli on Tue May 27, 2014 at 10:05:40 AM PDT

  •  "Scandal" has a new definition (3+ / 0-)

    in the Republican House - whatever they are currently pretending to be upset about, regardless of whether they are guilty of similar action.

    This should be a major campaign theme in Red states this fall, especially after the enrollment period re-opens in October.

    Your kids are more than a test score, and so are their teachers.

    by gtnoah on Tue May 27, 2014 at 10:32:43 AM PDT

  •  It's also scandalous that so many (0+ / 0-)

    Providers won't take Medicaid, IMO.

    Obama is the most progressive president in my lifetime.

    by freakofsociety on Tue May 27, 2014 at 10:33:33 AM PDT

  •  How many people did the Roberts Court condemn (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobcat41702, BlueKS, Tortmaster

    to death with its ridiculous and unprecedented parsing of the Commerce Clause and the ACA?

    •  Actually, it was the BS 'state coercion' idea (0+ / 0-)

      that gave GOP governors the ability to decline Medicaid expansion. Shades of states rights, they later used it again to gut the VRA in Shelby County.

      Aside from going state-to-state, another solution is to demand that the House pass legislation which henceforth mandates Medicaid expansion. I know, and pigs will fly... :(

  •  Stuff it Up Their You Know Whats (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mjd in florida, Tortmaster

    Every one of these states should specifically point out the Governor and the heads of the state houses as the real death panels, killing vets as well as less fortunate people.  And, they call themselves Christians!!!  My Ryan, I believe the Pope has properly slapped your meat head ass down, so why don't you follow your religion?  Because, you have no soul.........

  •  I appreciate the way this article starts out: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlueKS, mjd in florida, Tortmaster

    "While the Veterans Administration healthcare scandal is indeed a cause for bipartisan outrage, there's another scandal that should have even more people up in arms: the nearly five million Americans who are being purposefully left uninsured out of political spite."

    These are scandals, there should be outrage on all fronts.

    How in the world in this United States of America is it even debatable that health coverage is vital to not only the individual and/or families, not just for their sake, but for the viability, sustainability of a great nation.

    Have we not been educated to the fact that those without insurance coverage drain the coffers of their communities, states, and taxpayers.  Denying insurance is a cause of death; a fact.

    To the states and their republican mindset, it seems so blatantly partisan.  Holding out to punish President Obama while knowing full-well, it is punishing their citizens and actually making them responsible for deaths that will undoubtedly occur.

  •  Also (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlueKS, Tortmaster

    Many of the current issues with out caring for veterans comes from the Sequestration and the government shut down, as well as the general lack of planning when Bush decided to go to war against a non existent enemy instead of more directed attacks on a enemy that in general was not nation-state based.

    But really, the problem is that we spend so much money and time talking about who deserves medical care and who does not, and how much they deserve, and how much they need to pay so they appreciate it.  We spend so much on administrative costs decided how much care a veteran get, and which citizens can get care. Realize that if we had a Clinton type universal health care, it would not matter what kind of hero you were, if you went to war, or just feeding you children on minimum wage.

  •  Gov. Booby Jindal of Louisiana is one of the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mjd in florida, Tortmaster

    Recalcitrant idiots. Apparently quixotic presidential aspirations are more important than the lives of his constituents.

    "Onward through the fog!" - Oat Willie

    by rocksout on Tue May 27, 2014 at 11:31:51 AM PDT

  •  Why wouldn't a vet be eligible for health care (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mjd in florida

    under the VA system?  I thought any vet was.

    •  I believe it's a two year active (0+ / 0-)

      duty minimum, unless injured while active,  and quite a few vets did not have that much time.

    •  There are also income limitations. (0+ / 0-)

      There are other limitations as well, but I'd have to look them up.

      So, there is a Republican-created donut hole in regular Medicaid since Republican Governors refused to Expand Medicaid, and there is a Republican-created donut hole in Veterans' health care since the Republican House refuses to fully fund it.

      But they'll pay for wars!

      My dog likes me because I'm salty. Not salty like a pirate. Salty like a pretzel.

      by Tortmaster on Tue May 27, 2014 at 11:48:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A friend of mine (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mjd in florida, Tortmaster

    is married to a mentally abusive man who has her walking on eggshells constantly. She's self-employed and has several pre-existing conditions, so she has stayed married to him for decades simply because he has insurance through his job and she was uninsurable otherwise. The ACA gives her hope. . . except that we live in Kansas, where our "deeply religious" governor turned down Medicaid expansion. Now she falls into the gap where, as a single woman (her child is grown) she won't qualify for Medicaid, but she doesn't make enough money to qualify for health exchange subsidies.

    So my friend gets to endure who knows how many more years of yelling and berating and tyrannical fits, all because Republicans don't like the president.

    •  That is a sad and scary story, BlueKS. (0+ / 0-)

      I've never thought about that, even though I recall in doing divorces that one of my major concerns was to make sure the spouse retained a right to health care coverage.

      I would certainly suggest that she consult a Kansas lawyer, as Kansas law may mandate that her spouse keep her on health coverage during and after a divorce.  

      There are so many individual injustices caused by this Medicaid Expansion donut hole that we will be hearing horror stories like this for years to come.

      My dog likes me because I'm salty. Not salty like a pirate. Salty like a pretzel.

      by Tortmaster on Tue May 27, 2014 at 11:52:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Red Staters are on a steady diet of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mjd in florida, Tortmaster

    Red Herrings, hand-fed to them by Karl Rove and his ilk. Who needs healthcare for veterans when you have Godless Democrats and a White House full of communists to worry about?  

  •  Why (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mjd in florida, Tortmaster

    aren't Democrats attacking goppers foe not funding the VA?  It's their obstruction that has led to this.  Even when we had all three branches, they filibustered everything.   "We proposed x legislation and they blocked it."

    Too hard?

  •  "Scandal"?? Yes, but a moral and ethical failure (0+ / 0-)

    by those that could do something to remedy the suffering and pain of those that cannot effectively act on their behalf.

    It is very true about how a society is defined.  It is defined in how we treat our sick, elderly and our young.  It is defined in how we look after each other and treat strangers as we would want to be treated, that is with respect and dignity for all. Would we want it any other way for ourselves?  

    Of course not.

    Pretty sad societal picture right about now:  Agree?

    “My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there." - Rumi

    by LamontCranston on Wed May 28, 2014 at 07:39:33 AM PDT

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