COLLEEN DONOVAN: Patiently awaiting expanded Medicaid
At about 18 percent of the GDP, health care in the U.S. economy represents some powerful interests. In spite of these expenditures, the results are hardly exemplary. For example, infant mortality rates in the U.S. are nearly double those of Japan or Sweden (The Washington Post, Jan. 9).
Other abysmal statistics abound. The United States is the only industrialized democracy that doesn’t provide health care for all its citizens, a factor that contributes to our state of affairs as well as declining status among the world’s powerful nations.
No longer does our nation represent the “shining city upon the hill,” but, instead, a land where special interests overpower the common good.
For this reason, Judy Wanchisn’s letter on Tuesday about Medicaid expansion resonates. As Judy stated, we have a large number (about 700,000) working people in Pennsylvania who would be eligible for health care benefits if leaders of this state chose to implement this component of the Affordable Care Act. Unfortunately, we have observed stalling in Harrisburg from Gov. Corbett and his loyal troops. Still, Judy’s letter appeals to common sense: Expanded Medicaid is good for the people, for the heath care industry and for the economy in general. Therefore, it’s good for all the people of Pennsylvania.
Why then, haven’t all of our leaders in Harrisburg embraced this plan? How can they disregard 700,000 of their constituents?
We all know the Affordable Care Act isn’t popular among conservative Republicans. Perhaps they feel these hard-working people of Pennsylvania don’t deserve health care benefits. Perhaps they are disinterested for ideological reasons, which makes the obstructionist route all that more appealing. Perhaps they are taking extra time so that they can line up key players, the real beneficiaries of that bonanza of federal dollars paid for by the good tax-paying people of this nation.
Instead of striving to solve problems, such as those endemic to our unfair and outmoded health care system, this brand of Republicans chooses to cater to powerful interests.
But I am certain that the people of this commonwealth are more aligned with the common good than to powerful special interests. Governor Corbett and his loyal followers have the power to say yes to expanded Medicaid. The people of Pennsylvania are waiting impatiently to learn that their hard-working compatriots can finally access affordable health care.
Call your representatives in Harrisburg today and ask them to implement expanded Medicaid.