Over the past week, we’ve had a big and welcome surprise. Two of the loudest opponents to ensuring more people get health care coverage through Medicaid have been Virginia’s Gov. Bob McDonnell and Florida’s Gov. Rick Scott. Now, both have moved—grudgingly—in the direction of accepting the Medicaid funds allocated to states.
While government in Washington, D.C., remains divided and marked by long-term gridlock, governments in the states are much less divided. Of the 50 states, 37 now feature state governments where the governor and majorities in both legislative houses are controlled by one party—24 of those are controlled by Republicans. Extreme, anti-working family Republicans have repeatedly assaulted the rights of people in recent years and, by all accounts, the trend looks to expand in 2013. Working families are mobilized and fought back in 2012 and will continue to fight in 2013. The response to the "right to work" for less push in Michigan was so strong, that governors in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin have since declared that they won't push for right to work in their states.
Arm yourself with these eight facts on health care, Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act:
1. We have a health care cost problem, not a Medicare or Medicaid problem. Health care costs overall, including through employment-based plans, individual coverage and Medicare and Medicaid, have been growing faster than the whole economy—2.4% greater on average since 1970. Between 2000 and 2010, workers’ contributions to premiums for health insurance at work jumped 147%, compared to just a 36% increase in workers’ earnings. See "Medicare, Medicaid and the Deficit Debate," a report from the Urban Institute.
When Travis Turner was 12 months old, he was so sick he almost died. Just three months into his treatment for hepatoblastoma, a rare form of liver cancer, his family's health insurance company kicked him off because the cost of his care had reached $1 million. Since then, Turner, whose father Craig is a member of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 7248, was covered by Medicaid while his parents continued to fight for health insurance coverage. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, which Mitt Romney plans to repeal if elected president, 7-year-old Travis is now able to get back on his father's health insurance. Watch the USW YouTube video—Affordable Care Act: Hope Delivered for USW Families.