There’s a growing number of Republican-run states accepting Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, at least at the gubernatorial level, but South Carolina isn’t one of them. Gov. Nikki Haley (R) ruled out the possibility months ago, despite the pleas of South Carolina hospital administrators and public-health officials.
In fact, physicians in South Carolina are still hoping to change the state’s policy against Medicaid expansion, lobbying legislators this week on a White Coat Day organized by the South Carolina Hospital Association. Will it succeed? Consider the take of one insider.
Rep. Kris Crawford, a Republican from Florence and also an emergency room doctor, supports the expansion but expects the Republican caucus to vote as a block against the Medicaid expansion.
“The politics are going to overwhelm the policy. It is good politics to oppose the black guy in the White House right now, especially for the Republican Party,” Crawford said.
As it turns out, “the politics” were so successful in “overwhelming the policy” that Crawford himself voted against the policy he said he supports.
Kris Crawford, a Florence emergency room doctor, says he thinks South Carolina should accept billions of federal dollars to help pay the health care costs for poor people — also known as Obamacare.
There are only two problems: Crawford is a Republican, and he is a member of the state House of Representatives. So on Tuesday, when it was time to vote on whether to accept the money, Crawford voted not to accept it.
For what it’s worth, Crawford still supports Medicaid expansion as part of “Obamacare,” and regrets the way his party is concerned more about the “political argument” than the “policy discussion.”
So why did he vote with his party? Crawford cited procedural concerns, and wants the issue to be considered outside the state budget process. He intends to propose separate legislation later this year.
By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, March 14, 2013
I’ve mentioned here before that I spent most of my childhood in LaGrange, Georgia, a town that was dominated in a profoundly feudal sense by Callaway Mills, one of the stalwarts in the fight against unionization of the southern textile industry. In the public schools there, we began classes each year on Labor Day, an impressive gesture of contempt for the American labor tradition.
We are not that far from a major lurch in that direction on a national level. It received little national attention during the Republican National Convention, but South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s speech presenting her backward, poverty-stricken state as a union-free paradise of happy workers seemed very much the wave of the GOP future. With the exception of a handful of self-styled “progressives” or “liberals”–or such savvy pols as Richard Nixon who cut deals for political support with particular unions–Republicans have always been considered the “anti-labor” party. But they use to pay automatic respect to the basic legitimacy of unions and collective bargaining, certainly in the private sector. Not any more. Republicans used to hide their anti-union bias and when in power sought to roll back labor rights quietly through control of regulatory bodies like the National Labor Relations Board. There is every indication that if Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan win on November 6, the kind of loud-and-proud in-your-face hostility to unions that I grew up with will become national policy instantly.
Does that matter to Americans who aren’t union members, or are working in industries with little or no union presence to begin with? Of course it does. Unions greatly affect labor markets, and act to create upward pressure on wages and benefits–not to mention public safety net programs–affecting conditions of employment far from their specific bargaining units. And as Harold Meyerson points out in his Labor Day column today, the weakening of union power has played a big role in steadily eroding ability of wage earners to secure improvement in living standards despite rising skill levels and productivity:
Are American workers becoming less productive? On the contrary, a Wall Street Journal survey of the Standard & Poor’s 500, the nation’s largest publicly traded companies, found that their revenue per worker increased from $378,000 in 2007 to $420,000 in 2010. The problem is that workers get none of that increase. As economists Ian Dew-Becker and Robert Gordon have shown, all productivity gains in recent decades have gone to the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans, in sharp contrast to the three decades following World War II, when Americans at all income levels shared in the productivity increases.
The primary plight of U.S. workers isn’t their lack of skills. It’s their lack of power. With the collapse of unions, which represented a third of the private-sector workforce in the mid-20th century but just 7 percent today, workers simply have no capacity to bargain for their share of the revenue they produce.
The implicit message of some business leaders and their political allies these days seems to be: you should count yourselves lucky for having any jobs at all, so shut up about your eroding wages and disappearing benefits and non-existent job security and under-seige public safety net!
And an even more offensive implicit message is coming from the “we built that” rhetoric of the GOP, which doesn’t just deny government’s role in making individual business success possible, but that of workers as well, who are viewed as interchangeable, expendable material shaped and deployed by heroic “job creator” capitalists, to whom all glory, laud, honor and profits must accrue to keep the American economy moving.
It’s a way of thinking and living that takes me back to the LaGrange, Georgia of the early 1960s. Better take advantage of this and every ensuing Labor Day. There’s no guarantee it won’t be, in some respect or another, the last.
BY: Ed Kilgore, Contributing Writer, Washington Monthly Political Animal, September 3, 2012
Greg Sargent reports on the decision of five Republican governors to screw impoverished and working people out of the health care they are supposed to get from Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. As Sargent explains:
Iowa governor Terry Branstad has now become the fifth GOP governor to vow that his state will not opt in to the Medicaid expansion in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling. He joins the ranks of Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, Florida’s Rick Scott, South Carolina’s Nikki Haley, and Wisconsin’s Scott Walker.It’s worth keeping a running tally of how many people could go without insurance that would otherwise be covered under Obamacare if these GOP governors make good on their threat.
The latest rough total: Nearly one and a half million people.
…And counting. Sargent rolls out the breakdown estimates for the five states, with Florida leading the pack with more than 683,000 citizens at risk by Governor Scott’s threat. Sargent adds,
Of course, it’s still unclear whether these governors will go through with their threats. David Dayen and Ed Kilgore have both been making good cases that they will. As Dayen and Kilgore both note, some of these GOP governors are relying on objections to the cost of the program to the states — even though the federal government covers 100% of the program for the first three years and it remains a good deal beyond — to mask ideological reasons for opting out…Dayen rightly notes that the media will probably fail to sufficiently untangle the cover stories these governors are using.
If there is a silver lining behind the shameful threats of the five Republican governors, it is that there is a good chance that their actions will provoke mass demonstrations in at least some of their states, hopefully right in front of the gubernatorial mansions, where possible. And wouldn’t it be justice, if those demonstrations were lead by people with serious health problems, bringing along their oxygen tanks, wheelchairs, dialysis machines and other health care devices, joined by nurses and hospital workers in uniforms for exactly the kind of photo ops these governors don’t want?
Perhaps the key player in mobilizing mass demonstrations against the Republican Medicaid-bashers would be the nurses unions, which did such an outstanding job of making former Governor Schwarzenegger eat crow in CA over staffing ratios in hospitals.
In a way, the five governors are daring sick and needy people to protest against being targeted for health hardships. Given the large numbers of those threatened in these states, it’s an arrogant dare they may regret very soon — as well as on November 6.
By: J. P. Green, Democratic Strategist, July 3, 2012