SD: This is also a major women's health issue: 443,677 women will miss a pap smear and almost 200,000 won't get mammograms. And incredibly, because states are refusing to expand Medicaid, 240,700 poor and middle class families will be struck with catastrophic medical bills, which will lead many of those families into bankruptcy.
JB: That's really disturbing.
SD: We also tried to clarify the idea that Obamacare is going to help every American get health insurance. We found that more than 30 million people will remain uninsured even after the ACA is fully implemented.
It's striking that of the almost 8 million people who would have gotten insurance with the expansion of the Medicaid program, one quarter of those -- more than 2 million - are in Texas. In Texas alone, we found that 184,192 more people will suffer from depression, 62,610 people will be struck with a catastrophic medical expense, and as many as 3,035 people will die because of the governor's decision not to expand Medicaid. The day our study came out I got a message from a farmer in Idaho with six children, and she and her husband won't be able to get insurance because the state is opting out. Families are struggling, and without insurance, they're constantly at risk of having an illness turn into a financial catastrophe.
JB: So, this isn't a case of Obamacare failing to service the public. It's not even being given a chance, at least in those 25 states. Why is that? And, even in states where ACA is in effect, there are still many who will fall through the cracks. Your thoughts?
SD: Some Republican governors and legislators feel that it's so important to undermine Obamacare that they're willing to sacrifice the health, and even lives, of their own citizens. At the same time, they're turning down billions of dollars that would help local economies. But some of these states are realizing how much money they're losing by rejecting Medicaid: a recent study by the Commonwealth Fund found that Texas alone will lose more than $9 billion by 2022 because of its decision to reject Medicaid expansion; Florida will lose $5 billion and North Carolina $2.6 billion. There's no deadline for states to accept the Medicaid expansion, so things could change quickly. Already we're seeing states like Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Utah making moves to accept the federal funding, though they're trying to funnel that money through private insurance companies.
It comes as a surprise to some people that we'll still have 30 million people without any health insurance even after Obamacare is fully rolled out. Medical bills are one of the leading causes of bankruptcy in this country, and tens of thousands of families will continue to go broke because they're either uninsured or they're underinsured. The "Bronze" plans on the insurance exchanges cover only about 60% of the cost of medical care. We all know how expensive medical care can be, and for a poor or middle class family, having to pay 40% of those costs for an accident or illness can be a terrible tipping point towards financial disaster.