Expanding Medicaid is a win-win
To the editor:
There have been many letters to the editor expounding on the humanistic and moral rationale for expanding Medicaid in New Hampshire. On those grounds alone, this legislation should be adopted.
It is hard to understand why Republicans in the N.H. Legislature are resisting the effort to provide health insurance to the working poor. How can anyone with a conscience not empathize with people whose incomes are $14,856 or less as they struggle to survive — food, housing, clothing, transportation to work and there’s some leftover for health insurance? Really?
OK, if Republicans have no sympathy, no caring for others less fortunate, no sense of responsibility for the general welfare, let’s put human interest aside for a moment, and think in hard-nosed economic terms.
Under the Affordable Care Act the federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost of medicaid expansion for three years and gradually taper their contribution down to 90 percent thereafter. They will pay these cost with tax money we will be sending, regardless, to Washington. So, if we don’t take the money we will be subsidizing the states that do.
But what if the Feds renege? They have never failed to keep their bargain on Medicaid or Medicare. But what if they do? Easy answer — states can opt out of the expanded services anytime without penalty, guaranteed by the U. S. Supreme Court.
Continuing this line of thinking in practical rather than moral terms — the uninsured show up in hospital emergency rooms and often have chronic conditions that go untreated. But if for Republicans the human cost in pain and suffering doesn’t matter, let’s talk economics. ER care is very expensive and we all pay for that with higher insurance rates. Untreated chronic conditions result in more ER care and lost wages. For example, an untreated diabetic may lose a foot and become unable to work.
Healthy people are happier, earn more, consume more, pay more taxes and make a contribution to the economy. Expanding Medicaid in New Hampshire is a win-win for everybody.