We have the Affordable Care Act and we still have literally millions of people who cannot afford and will not have, health care.
How in the world can that be? The Affordable Care Act was supposed to help that very demographic, wasn’t it?
A New York Times article said that nearly two-thirds of poor, black people, and single mothers, in addition to one-half of all low-wage earners, will still not have access to health care. (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/03/health/millions-of-poor-are-left-uncovered-by-health-law.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20131003).
The vast number of these people live in states controlled by Republicans, and in which those lawmakers have voted against expanding Medicaid. “The 26 states that have rejected the Medicaid expansion are
home to about half of the country’s population, but about 68 percent of
poor, uninsured blacks and single mothers. About 60 percent of the
country’s uninsured working poor are in those states. Among those
excluded are about 435,000 cashiers, 341,000 cooks and 253,000 nurses’
aides.” said the NYT article.
While some are appalled that so many people will still be unable to get health care, others are not surprised.
Some say that the Affordable Care Act was designed not to help poor black people, or single mothers, or low-wage earners. It was designed, they say, to benefit low wage earners who happen to be white.
It is sadly ironic that the majority of the poor people whom this act was ostensibly created to help are apparently black. They live primarily in Southern states where, again, Republican lawmakers have balked at extending Medicaid, citing cost. The American citizens who will still not be able to get health care, many of them, make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but not enough money to keep them above the poverty line, making them eligible to qualify for subsidies, which the ACA is providing.
It is equally as ironic that some lawmakers feel justified in not supporting the expansion of Medicaid because they seem to feel that the poor are poor because they are lazy and want to take advantage of working Americans. There is great disdain for the poor, blaming them for their poverty and spreading this belief so that great numbers of people buy into the hype. While in one breath, lawmakers will say that in America, democracy makes it possible for “all” people to be successful and therefore, not poor, in another breath, they will support a system which is not democratic at all, but, rather, oligarchic in nature, supporting the expansion of the very rich on the backs of poor people and their labor.
With these millions of people still unable to get affordable health care, the health of the very poor will still be jeopardized. Children will still be in danger from getting sick and possibly dying from preventable and treatable diseases, and adults will not be able to get the care and medication they need to, likewise, get treatable diseases diagnosed or to get medications that will keep those diseases from killing them.
All of the showboating on television, with Tea Party Republicans saying that they are speaking on behalf of “the American people” has been disturbing and disgusting. “The American people,” for them, obviously do not include poor black and brown people, single mothers, and people unable to make a living wage.
The politicians in Washington are playing a game with the lives of all Americans as they fight like children having temper tantrums, working to defund the Affordable Care Act. It wouldn’t be so troubling if Tea Party Republicans had a viable health care plan in place to replace the ACA, one that would help people like these millions of black, brown and poor people.
They are not concerned with that part of America’s population, though. These politicians are fighting for is a group of people who object to big government and the role big government has historically played in taking care of “the least of these.” They do not have the slightest concern, say, for the American citizen who needs treatment and medication for high blood pressure, or for the child who has an abscessed tooth, and who happens to be poor.
It is a scary thing to be poor in such a wealthy land. It is scary and troubling and frustrating to work, as the work ethic says we must – and still be deemed unworthy to make a living wage. The government shut-down, forced by the opposition between Tea Party Republicans who are fighting President Obama by opposing the ACA, is making poor people suffer even more as their salaries are being withheld.
Nobody cares about you if you’re poor – not even here in America, where our political system is supposed to be “exceptional” and above that in all other developed countries. The fact that many Americans are a paycheck away from being put out on the street, should be troubling to a group of people who say they govern for “the American people.”
Apparently, that’s not true. They govern for “some” American people. Black, brown and poor people of all colors, as well as people struggling to make ends meet, just don’t seem to matter. No matter what lofty words are used to describe America’s democratic ideals, her oligarchic reality says that there is a serious chasm between the ideal and the real.
Poor people count. Black and brown people count. Single mothers …count.
Somebody ought to remind Congress of the same because it seems that millions of Americans have been forgotten.
A candid observation…