Earlier this week, Democrats on the House Oversight Committee sent letters to Republican governors who rejected the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, asking them to explain their reasoning.
Ranking committee member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) wrote the letters requesting documents to explain the expansion rejection to Rick Perry (TX), Rick Scott (FL), and Pat McCrory (NC).
In the letter to Gov. Perry, Cummings explained that “Congress offered to pay 100% of [the expanded Medicaid costs] for the first three years, declining to 90% by 2020, with states only paying 10% of these costs.”
He also said that “Republican governors who support Medicaid expansion have praised the fact that it will provide critical medical services to millions of their constituents while significantly improving their state budgets.”
Cummings then provided statements from Republican governors Jan Brewer (AZ), Chris Christie (NJ), and John Kasich (OH) on why the expansion would help their states.
Brewer said the expansion “will boost our economy by creating more than 20,000 jobs at a time when Arizona needs them the most;” Christie said expanding Medicaid “will save approximately $227 million in Fiscal Year 2014 alone;” and Kasich said it would “save lives … It’s going to help people, and you tell me what’s more important than that.”
Given the positive response from these governors, Cummings requested “copies of any state-specific analyses, studies, or reports that you ordered, requested, or relied on to inform your decision” to reject the federally-paid-for expansion.
Cummings also pointed out that if Gov. Perry would accept the expansion, more than 1.2 million Texans would have medical coverage, and almost 60,000 new jobs would be created. Currently, Texas has the highest percentage of uninsured residents, with almost a quarter of its population having no medical coverage.
Since the request is just that, a request, it’s probably safe to assume that the GOP governors won’t voluntarily provide the information being requested– mostly because it doesn’t exist.
In states that accepted the expansion, the uninsured rate of those living in poverty fell to 17 percent; in the states that didn’t, there was “no significant change,” with the rate sitting at 36 percent, according to data from the Commonwealth Fund. Data also shows that 60 percent of people with new coverage who visited a doctor or other healthcare provider, or paid for a prescription, would not have been able to “access or afford this care previously.”
The data is in, and the Affordable Care Act has helped millions of Americans. It could help millions more, but the GOP governors would rather continue harming their constituents than admit they were wrong.