Columns » Editorials

Not brothers' keepers


Republicans like Ted Cruz are gnashing their teeth because they failed in their effort to deny affordable health care to all low-income Americans. But they did manage to keep millions of their poor and sick countrymen from receiving treatment. For a party that has become dedicated to not helping people, this is a significant accomplishment.

President Obama's health-care reform originally would have expanded all state Medicaid programs to cover more of the working poor. Republican attorneys general persuaded Republican judges — fairly easily, one would assume — to nullify Obama's plan to make Medicaid expansion mandatory. Republican-majority legislatures in 26 states then rejected the expanded Medicaid programs that Washington offered to pay for. (Even with Republicans dominant in the legislature, Arkansas allowed Medicaid expansion, the only state in the Deep South to do so. We have not yet sunk to the degeneracy of our neighbors. Maybe next year.)

The result of these denials is that over 5 million Americans who otherwise would have gained health-care coverage must continue without it, still hurting. In Texas alone, more than 1 million people who could have gained access to health care will remain unprotected because of their state government's action. (Texas state government is more committed to taking lives than saving them.) Nearly 800,000 Floridians won't receive coverage that otherwise could have been theirs. Southern states like Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and South Carolina, with large numbers of uninsured black residents, are among the states whose legislatures voted against Medicaid expansion. White Republican legislators enjoyed hurling Medicaid back in the face of a black Democratic president.

Republicans like former President George W. Bush at least feigned "compassionate conservatism." Today's Tea Party Republicans condemn kindness; it's grounds for expulsion. "If you want to be nice to people, you don't belong here." They seek a country run by the rich, the white, the male and the mean.

Add a comment