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
President Obama and Senate Democrats have been trying to implement the Buffett rule, a minimum tax on millionaires, which would remedy the problem of millionaires being able to pay lower tax rates than middle class families. One state lawmaker in Iowa thinks his state needs its own version — the Branstad rule — after Gov. Terry Branstad (R-IA) was able to pay just $52in state income taxes on his nearly $200,000 in income:
Gov. Terry Branstad’s $52 state income tax bill in 2011 is proof that fixes are needed in the tax system, Sen. Robert Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids said today.
“Some people talk about nationally we need a Buffet rule, maybe in Iowa we need a Branstad rule,” said Hogg, who additionally noted that a person making between $30,000 to $40,000 a year can expect to pay somewhere around $1,000 or more in state income tax.
Branstad was able to pay such a low amount because Iowa is one of just six states in the country that allows residents to write off their federal income tax payments from the previous year on their current year’s tax return. So Branstad was able to apply his 2010 federal income tax payments — which were paid on the salary he received from his prior job as the president of Des Moines University — to this year’s state income tax bill.
Iowa loses $642 million annually due to this provision, nearly one quarter of its total income tax revenue. More than half of the benefit of the deduction goes to the richest 5 percent of Iowans, while 76 percent of the benefits go to the richest 20 percent. “States should take a hard look at eliminating, or at least capping, their deduction because of the impact this lopsided tax policy has on state budgets and tax fairness,” the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy wrote. Branstad’s administration called his low tax bill an anomaly.
By: Pat Garofalo, Think Progress, April 25, 2012