Only on Fox News would a conservative guest get props for saying this: “I think Democrats, if they really were interested in helping low-income individuals to have good quality health care, they’d really want to cut Medicaid and stop it.”
At the end of a discussion about John McCain’s opposition to the Graham-Cassidy bill, conservative guest Bre Payton suggested that Democrats don’t care about the poor about as much as she does because they haven’t ditched Medicaid:
PAYTON: I think Democrats, if they really were interested in helping low-income individuals to have good quality health care, they’d really want to cut Medicaid and stop it. Because many of the doctors who do accept Medicaid do so on a semi-exploitative basis and fewer and fewer doctors even accept Medicare [sic], right? And what we are seeing is huge increases in emergency room wait times because those are the only places that so many people can get seen, due in large part because Obamacare extended Medicaid.
So I definitely think that Democrats, if they are seeking to help those individuals, they’d want to put together a program that looks entirely different or they’d want to enable the marketplace to be freer to come up with solutions that actually help people instead of expanding this policy that is really quite terrible for so many Americans.
While it is true that wait times in emergency rooms have increased, it’s not at all clear that it’s because doctors won’t accept Medicaid and/or more people have Medicaid. A USA Today article on the subject blames a shortage of primary care doctors (not just ones who don’t take Medicaid) as well as other factors such as not being able to take time off from work to see doctors during business hours and not having a regular physician to consult.
Furthermore, Slate debunks the “fewer and fewer doctors accept Medicaid” excuse:
If anything, it appears that more doctors have started to see Medicaid enrollees in the years since the program expanded under the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, a recent analysis shows that low-income Americans tend to have similar access to doctors whether they have Medicaid or a private plan, which belies Price’s notion that many Medicaid patients would be significantly better off with coverage purchased on the individual market.
Slate also found that private insurance does not cover the poor better:
In November, an analysis by the Medicaid and CHIP Payment Commission showed that Americans who earned less than 138 percent of the poverty line—the population covered under Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion—had about the same difficulty getting access to medical care during 2014 whether they had Medicaid or private insurance (that was the first year Obamacare’s major pieces were fully implemented). In fact, those with private plans were twice as likely to say they lacked a regular source of medical care, and about 9 percentage points more likely to say they worried about medical bills. Medicaid patients did face slightly longer wait times. But they had far, far better access to medicine than the uninsured.
While Payton postured as someone just looking out for the disadvantaged, she seems to have ignored the fact that Medicaid patients really like their coverage and care.
What Payton's comments really suggest is that she thinks the rest of us would be better off if fewer poor people have health insurance, period.
Instead of challenging Payton’s “let them eat cake” mentality, based on questionable (at best) arguments, anchor Harris Faulkner whispered an emphatic “Yeah!”
Watch Payton advocate for taking away people’s health insurance while pretending that would benefit them below, from the September 22, 2017 America’s News HQ.
PS I apologize for the audio and video not syncing. I have no idea why that happened.
It’s for this reason that we always hear from the Right about how Medicaid doesn’t work, how Medicare and Social Security are Ponzi schemes that will bankrupt us, about how Welfare is used by people gaming the system and Food Stamps are being abused. (Although I have found some grim humor in Sean Hannity’s obsession with how many people were on Food Stamps during President Obama’s terms, since Hannity wanted to ignore the massive recession until the exact moment that President Obama took the oath of office.) And there’s a strategy to using the code word “entitlements” – that’s supposed to give you the impression that someone is getting something they really don’t need and shouldn’t be taking. They’re just gaming the system because they feel “entitled” to everyone else’s hard-earned tax dollars.
Payton’s just throwing that into the mix as a cheap shot. She’s fully aware that the point of the Graham Cassidy iteration is not to help deal with Medicaid issues or with the hardships those patients face – and frankly, Payton couldn’t care less about those issues. She just wants to get in the dig that “Hey, Medicaid doesn’t really work anyway, so why are the Dems expanding it other than to give out another handout?”
Payton is dodging what this bill would actually do to millions of patients across the country and how it would do it. The bill is designed to shift Medicaid dollars away from blue states that participated in the ACA and give that money to red states who actively obstructed it. In other words, it’s a reward to Right Wing governors who refused to have their states participate and a punishment to anyone who actually had the temerity to be part of it. It’s a fairly mean-spirited move, and one that shouldn’t surprise us coming out of this Congress or the Pence White House. It’s more than a punch in the face to President Obama’s supporters – it’s a second backhand to make sure you got the message.
I also note that by pushing the Graham Cassidy bill, the Right Wing effectively destroyed the attempt by Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray to do something on a bipartisan basis. Because this bill is intended to be voted by Republicans for Republicans, without a single Dem vote needed. They don’t want to talk to the Dems about this, and they don’t want to hear the complaints. They just want to get rid of the ACA and not have to be held accountable for the result.