Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The GOP, Getting Rolled Again

From your steak to the nuclear power plant down the road, from student aid and HIV testing, to travel delays and cancelled tours at the White House, the effects of the sequester have begun to roll out all over the nation, just as House Republicans insist they won't shut down the government at the end of the month.

Of course, that's also what they said about the sequester - that they'd never allow it to happen - so you can see why we don't have any faith in this latest claim by Congressmembers that they're going to save us from yet another Republican hostage crisis.

Logically you'd think that after getting bowled over in the 2012 elections, extremist Republicans might want to stop being stupid, deal with the massive political elephant in the room, and do things that might win them some elections in 2014.

At least in Congress, that hasn't been the case so far.

At the state level, however, there are a growing number of Republican governors who clearly understand the massive boulder rolling their way on Medicaid - which is why more and more of them have been bucking the extremists in their party, and accepting Obamacare's Medicaid expansion funds.

It's another example of right-wing hypocrisy - one that might actually net those who've accepted the realities of Obamacare some political victories down the road.

Republican governors who've decided to be - in Republican parlance - "moochers" from Medicaid have actually been the ones making the most fiscally responsible decisions. That's even more true since, under the current Medicaid expansion, the federal government pays the full cost of that expansion at the state level for the first three years, as well as additional spending costs. This actually ends up pairing well with the growing numbers of Americans who will be buying health insurance from the private market under Obamacare, since Medicaid helps those who can't afford insurance - and it's cheaper than private insurance anyway.

For health insurance companies at the state level, that dual boost means at a time they'll be getting more business coming in, they'll also be able to lessen the financial drag on their business as health care costs continue to go down. That's another 'win' for Obamacare.

Sadly, we still haven't gotten anywhere close to tackling the serious problems of price gouging in the U.S. health care system, as throughly detailed in a brilliant Time magazine report by Steven Brill.

We have made SOME progress though in rolling back the costs of health care to our society, with the ongoing roll out of Obamacare - including the Medicaid expansion. That is and always has been the goal of the progressive political position: Move forward on all fronts, and fix what you can, as soon as you can.

Politically, that worked out astoundingly well for Democrats in the 2012 elections. Some Republican governors they chose to embrace the Medicaid expansion obviously understand that. Other foolish Republican governors and state level politicians are still running from the Medicaid expansion that will almost certainly likely help those like Gov. Chris Christie in 2014.

Those less-than-wise Republican governors should learn to roll with the changes - or expect to get rolled by the people in 2014.