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Are Republican Governors Ready to Kill Tens of Thousands to Placate the Tea Party?

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If the programs will pretty much pay for themselves and maybe even yield profits for the states, and bring in thousand or hundreds of thousands of jobs, why would Republican governors make a decision to withhold healthcare for the poor? I have to ask, and it's the reason I interviewed Dr. Sommers, is it reasonable to assume that thousands of people will die if the governors reject the funding?

Here's how my conversation with Dr. Sommers went:

Rob: So, that's three states. How many deaths would've been prevented based on these numbers if the control states--the ones that didn't implement the expanded Medicare, had implemented it.


Dr. Sommers:  So, we didn't look directly at that and it's hard to extrapolate directly because the states that are expanding Medicaid and the ones that didn't are somewhat different. It's possible if the non-expanding states had done it, it would have had a different impact, but the population size is pretty similar in those other states and so we might expect a similar size affect; potentially several thousand lives saved each year.

Rob: That's phenomenal, isn't it?

Dr. Sommers:  Well, yeah. It's good news. It's certainly--we would hope that if we're going to spend a lot of money on a program to provide insurance coverage to adults that it actually has some impact and it was encouraging to see both coverage went up and the number of uninsured adults went down as well as the number of adults who said they were unable to obtain medical care that they needed because of costs. That went down. So we were seeing barriers to care eliminated by the Medicaid expansion and then ultimately that seemed to translate into better health and better survival.

Rob: About how many people did this expanded Medicare reach to?

Dr. Sommers:: So, the expansion--I just wanted to clarify. Medicaid is the program for the poor and Medicare tends to be for the elderly, 65 and over and while they both are key programs, the one that's really at stake under the "Affordable Care Acts" expansion would be Medicaid.

Rob: / Okay. Okay.

Dr. Sommers:  / And what we saw there in terms of the numbers who are enrolled, about half a million, about 500,000 adults signed up in these three states under this new, expanded eligibility.

Rob: Okay, half a million in your study in these three states that you've looked at, how many would be affected when the new health care program comes in?

Dr. Sommers:  The national expansion under the "Affordable Care Act" was initially expected to happen in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, and the predication from the Congressional budget office was that this would lead to about 16 or 17 million adults gaining insurance through Medicaid. Right now the situation's changed a little bit since the Supreme Court ruling, because the Supreme Court effectively gave states the option of whether or not they want to expand their coverage under Medicaid and so that number may be significantly lower if several states choose not to expand Medicaid and right now that's the big debate at the state level--is whether or not to accept the expansion.

Rob: What I'm trying to wrap my head around is that half a million people in this study got expanded coverage and it saved about 2500 lives, right?

Dr. Sommers:  Yep.

Rob: So, if you extrapolate out to 16 or 17 million, it's going to be 32, 33, 34 times that. 75,000 or more people--lives will be saved.

Dr. Sommers:  Your math is right. It's not necessarily clear that the overall national results would be exactly the same as what we saw at the state level and there are several reasons for that. One, is that, as I said each state is a little bit different in terms of how it runs its Medicaid program and who enrolls. So, it could be that other states won't have quite the same impact. And the other factor is that this federal expansion is actually going to be even bigger than the state ones were and so, while on the one it means you have more people enrolled, our suspicion is that the first people that sign up for Medicaid expansion are the ones who are the sickest, who really need help the most. And so as you start to add more people later on in a bigger expansion, they may not get quite as much bang for the buck, but still we'd expect to see a significant benefit. So, it's hard to fix it to an exact number but it certainly would be far greater than the 2500 we saw in just three states.

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Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

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I would say, yes.... by Carolyn Jacobson on Thursday, Aug 2, 2012 at 11:45:08 AM
Rob Kall illustrates for us why it is a bad idea t... by Phil Weingart on Thursday, Aug 2, 2012 at 12:02:07 PM
 You may want to consider another site. I tho... by GUY P. FRASER on Thursday, Aug 2, 2012 at 12:23:31 PM
You really buy this ridiculous method of making a ... by Matt K on Thursday, Aug 2, 2012 at 2:43:12 PM
If we see Matt K lying in the street after being h... by Scott Baker on Thursday, Aug 2, 2012 at 3:40:20 PM
To bother responding to such a disjointed, incoher... by Rob Kall on Thursday, Aug 2, 2012 at 5:40:33 PM
this doesn't seem like the sort of thing that shou... by John Sanchez Jr. on Thursday, Aug 2, 2012 at 2:47:02 PM
Gee Phil!! The ice cream sales and boating acciden... by Michael Daly, artist on Thursday, Aug 2, 2012 at 7:32:35 PM
  Nice smoke screen Phil, but your example is... by A Knesal on Thursday, Aug 2, 2012 at 9:28:28 PM
While it is true correlation does not imply causal... by Richard Pietrasz on Friday, Aug 3, 2012 at 7:10:44 PM
Think of this from an evangelical Christian's narr... by Don McLeod on Thursday, Aug 2, 2012 at 1:13:31 PM
Rob- You're forgetting the most important part of ... by Matt K on Thursday, Aug 2, 2012 at 2:31:13 PM
This legislation has everything to do with forci... by Matt K on Thursday, Aug 2, 2012 at 2:31:45 PM
One or two other things about the income tax code.... by Matt K on Thursday, Aug 2, 2012 at 2:58:22 PM
You object to people being required to purchase in... by John Sanchez Jr. on Thursday, Aug 2, 2012 at 2:58:59 PM
Matt K, you have to understand that you don't get ... by John Sanchez Jr. on Thursday, Aug 2, 2012 at 4:48:44 PM
Matt, I certainly agree that the legality of Obama... by Richard Pietrasz on Friday, Aug 3, 2012 at 7:21:27 PM
Medicaid is  a very strange  and grotesq... by Mark Sashine on Thursday, Aug 2, 2012 at 3:17:19 PM
Do responsible adult americans want a Nanny?Will t... by Paul Haasbroek on Thursday, Aug 2, 2012 at 8:34:20 PM
In answer to the headline question posed by Rob ... by Michael Daly, artist on Thursday, Aug 2, 2012 at 9:26:06 PM
What are you folks so excited about? In a country... by Paul Repstock on Thursday, Aug 2, 2012 at 10:21:07 PM
There is a formal word for the die-off rate of Ame... by Linda Laurin on Friday, Aug 3, 2012 at 12:27:18 PM
Here's the beginning of an article titled Health C... by E. J. N. on Friday, Aug 3, 2012 at 1:51:29 PM