Over at The Washington Monthy, in a post entitled, “This Is Why We Fight,” Martin Longman links to a great article in the Washington Post about the effort to enroll residents of Kentucky in Kynect, the state’s Medicaid expansion program– paid for by the Affordable Care Act:
But in a state where the rollout has gone smoothly, and in a county that is one of the poorest and unhealthiest in the country, Courtney Lively has been busy signing people up: cashiers from the IGA grocery, clerks from the dollar store, workers from the lock factory, call-center agents, laid-off coal miners, KFC cooks, Chinese green-card holders in town to teach Appalachian students.
Now it was the beginning of another day, and a man Lively would list as Client 375 sat across from her in her office at a health clinic next to a Hardee’s.
“So, is that Breathitt County?” she asked Woodrow Wilson Noble as she tapped his information into a laptop Thursday morning.
“Yeah, we live on this side of the hill,” said Noble, whose family farm had gone under, who lived on food stamps and what his mother could spare, and who was about to hear whether he would have health insurance for the first time in his 60-year-old life.
This is how things are going in Kentucky: As conservatives argued that the new health-care law will wreck the economy, as liberals argued it will save billions, as many Americans raged at losing old health plans and some analysts warned that a disproportionate influx of the sick and the poor could wreck the new health-care model, Lively was telling Noble something he did not expect to hear.
“All right,” she said. “We’ve got you eligible for Medicaid.”
Longman rightly concludes that it’s not anyone’s job to pass moral judgement on people who need healthcare– many for the first time in their long lives– many of them working poor– and reminds us that although “Obamacare” is still considered a dirty word in Kentucky, not everyone is blind to the fact of what, or whom, is responsible:
Soon, Ronald Hudson walked in.
“Okay,” Lively began. “What Hudsons are you kin to?”
“R.T., Uncle Lenny . . .” said Hudson, a skinny 35-year-old who worked as an assistant director at the senior center and had just been released from the hospital after a blood-sugar spike.
He’d never had insurance before and said his hospital bills were up to $23,000 at this point.
“Good night,” Lively said, tapping in his information.
Kids: five. Salary: about $14,000 before taxes.
“You’re going to qualify for a medical card,” she told Hudson.
“Well, thank God,” Hudson said, laughing. “I believe I’m going to be a Democrat.”
Lively printed out his papers.
“RONALD’s Health Care Coverage Options,” one of them read.
“Oh, man,” Hudson said.
As the bugs and website glitches continue to be less of an obstacle, or a phony excuse to just execute it! and enrollment numbers nationwide continue to improve– with enrollment in state-run exchanges reportedly doubling week to week– the media’s going to have to eventually alter their storyline to begin to demand why 25 Republican governors are continuing to refuse Medicaid expansion.
But more importantly they’re going to have to begin to ask, “who’s quietly leaving all these pies on President Obama’s windowsill?”