An eager reader reports that someone is robocalling against Medicaid expansion in South Dakota:
All of the questions began “would you be more likely, [less likely] to support expanding Medicaid if you knew that…”
- “You knew that 60% of beneficiaries are able-bodied adults with no children”
- “You knew that taxes would increase to support the Medicaid expansion”
- “You knew that Congress would pass a bill outlawing Obamacare in 2017”
- “You knew that beneficiaries would be taken off private health insurance rolls at taxpayer expense” [DFP reader e-mail, 2015.12.29].
The robocall’s first point is misdirection: as I reported earlier this month, 61% of Americans in the coverage gap are in families with a working adult, and at least half are working. And we support families and workers, right?
The robocall’s second point is straight bunk: South Dakota’s plan could result in $158 million in state tax relief over five years and $10 million annually after that. And AFP likes anything that could lower taxes, right?
The robocall’s third point is wishful bunk: the Affordable Care Act is law and will stay that way, because we will elect a Democratic President next year and because Donald Trump will cause Republicans to lose seats in Congress.
The robocall’s fourth point is another distraction: at least 13,000 of those getting coverage in South Dakota’s Medicaid expansion have no insurance right now. Insuring those people reduces our costs by relieving hospitals of millions of dollars in uncompensated care. As for anybody helped by the expansion to move from private coverage to public coverage, they’ll get better coverage that spends our national wealth more efficiently than their current administrative-overhead-heavy private insurers, producing another net gain for our economy.
But there’s no reasoning with robots. Expect those talking points to end up in handouts and emails to legislators. Expect those talking points to pop up in House and Senate floor speeches from Koch-leaning corporatist Republicans who just can’t explain to their Lincoln Day Dinner donors that expanding Medicaid to save lives and save money is more important than resisting the last bit of Obamacare left up to states’ choice.
Don’t expect the agonizing South Dakota Republican Party to counter with a push poll call that uses the Governor’s own example and asks, “Would you be more likely to support Medicaid expansion if you knew it would cover a single mom with three kids who’s working full-time but can’t get affordable insurance?” Governor Daugaard only kinda-sorta wants to expand Medicaid, only if he can get the credit without spending any money or political capital.