This was originally published on Liberal America on March 4, 2017.
Representative Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) is obviously way out of touch with his constituents. He talked about the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and he actually said:
“Just like Jesus said, ‘The poor will always be with us.’ There is a group of people that just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves.
So there’s a group of people that even with unlimited access to health care are only going to use the emergency room when their arm is chopped off or when their pneumonia is so bad they get brought [into] the ER.”
They don’t get healthcare because they can’t afford it. Expanding Medicaid helps them be able to go to the doctor. These people DO want and should be able to get the care they need.
Marshall is basing these remarks on his experience as a doctor in Kansas. However, Kansas still hasn’t expanded Medicaid, so he has not worked under the same expansions that other states had. Yes, people in Kansas may still be putting off getting healthcare because of this.
The state did not introduce a bill to expand Medicaid until January 2017. The bill will allow all adults under the age of 65 with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, or $26,720, to get Medicaid. Currently, childless adults under 65 cannot be covered.
Studies show that people with health insurance are generally healthier because they can get the preventative care they need. A Harvard study found that the uninsured rate has dropped drastically in the states that have expanded Medicaid. The lead author, Benjamin Sommers, said:
“What this means is that it doesn’t matter so much how states expand coverage. What matters is whether they expand at all.”
Let’s hope that the poor people of Kansas can get help with this bill.