Oh goodie, the poor can't be helped so now we can fuggedaboudit
TNR's Jonathan Cohn reports on a new study about Medicaid which concludes that it rather dramatically improves both the financial security and mental health of those it covers. Unfortunately, the right wing has seized upon the result showing that having Medicaid coverage did not show significant physical health in the first two years (so might as well throw in the towel.) This is what the report concluded:
This randomized, controlled study showed that Medicaid coverage generated no significant improvements in measured physical health outcomes in the first 2 years, but it did increase use of health care services, raise rates of diabetes detection and management, lower rates of depression, and reduce financial strain.
So naturally, the whole damned thing is a waste of money:
There is no way to spin these results as anything but a rebuke to those who are pushing states to expand Medicaid. The Obama administration has been trying to convince states to throw more than a trillion additional taxpayer dollars at Medicaid by participating in the expansion, when the best-designed research available cannot find any evidence that it improves the physical health of enrollees. The OHIE even studied the most vulnerable part of the Medicaid-expansion population – those below 100 percent of the federal poverty level – yet still found no improvements in physical health.
Yeah! Nothing we can do folks! These people are just going to die. In fact, if we really want to save money we could put the poor animals out of their misery and save the cost of those inevitable hospitalizations when these diseases go completely untreated.
Cohn lays out all the reasons why this report actually proves we should expand Medicaid, and he wonders why conservatives and libertarians are so eager to dismiss it. I'll tell him why: conservatives think these poor people are lazy and deserve what they get and the libertarians just don't care about them at all. That's all there is to it. After all, it's not as if any of them have any answers. They simply assume that there will always be lots of poor, sick people around for whom they have no responsibility. For conservatives the only question for society is how to punish them for their lack of initiative and for libertarians they're simply of no concern at all. Either way, the end result is that nobody should have to give up even one nickel to help pay for the poor --- and if something happens and you find yourself among them, you're on your own.
These people believe that's just the way life is. The only way to get decent medical care and fully protect yourself from financial calamity is to get rich. Really rich. It's the catch-all answer for everything that ails you. Anyone who doesn't has only herself to blame.