Uninsured Lining Up As Demand For Obamacare Expands

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?”

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  • D_C_Wilson

    I love that one of the biggest success stories is happening in Randy Paul’s backyard. If you really want to watch him squirm, check this appearance on CNN.

    https://aattp.org/rand-paul-concedes-on-cnn-that-maybe-kentucky-is-an-obamacare-success-story/

    • Badgerite

      I’m guessing Kentucky was a state where the insurance companies went to town selling substandard policies that covered next to nothing to people desperate to get any kind of help with medical bills. If these same people check out what is available in terms of better coverage and reduced premiums through subsidies under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, they will find that they will be better off in terms of health care and so will their state. And this, of course, is what it has all been about. Not a ‘power grab’. Just the conviction that one of the richest countries on the planet ought to be available to provide decent healthcare to ALL of its citizens.

      • D_C_Wilson

        Well we can’t have because somehow, helping people afford health insurance leads to Stalinism.

        • Badgerite

          I don’t see how. Maybe if I put some tea bags on my hat, I’ll see it.
          Or tinfoil.

          • D_C_Wilson

            You have to wear a tricorner hat that’s lined with tinfoil and hang the tea bags from the brim. Then it will all make sense.

          • Badgerite

            OOooooh! Well, that explains it. Thanks.

  • muselet

    When the enrollment process isn’t hamstrung by deliberate sabotage, it works reasonably smoothly.

    Imagine that.

    –alopecia

  • Erik

    It won’t be long before people in states that refuse to expand Medicaid start asking why THEY can’t get insurance so they can finally go see a doctor.

    • missliberties

      or more importantly the hospitals will begin asking why no medicaid expansion.

  • JMAshby

    You know, morons.

  • Ipecac

    But! But! That Obummer only passed Obummercare to get votes and this proves it!! Once these people are on the entitlements, they’ll never come off! Wouldn’t he be better off without healthcare or a safety net and learning that he should get a job and work his way up to being a millionaire?? What kind of lesson is this teaching him?

    Seriously, this is wonderful and it’s an absolute tragedy that the Republicans have significantly lowered the number of people the ACA could be helping right now.

    • D_C_Wilson

      Sadly, I’ve heard wingnuts use this exact argument in total seriousness. Apparently, poor adults need to “learn” how to work hard and the only way to do that is to make health care a privilege of the wealthy.

      And they say liberals treat Americans like children.

  • beulahmo

    President Obama: Smiling, deeply inhales the delicious fragrance of fresh-baked pies.

    ::Knock at the shuttered window::

    Kentucky Yokel / Limbaugh Fan: “Of course, you’ll have the good taste not to mention that I spoke to you.”
    President Obama: Of course.

  • missliberties

    Who is leaving on these pies on Obama’s windowsill?

    …… or why I read Bob Cesca’s blog. Great writing and faCts!

  • Victor_the_Crab

    Nice to hear people whom you genuinely empathize finally get what they truly need.

  • Gern Blandston

    Brink wins the day for best use of Blazing Saddles iconography.

  • Badgerite

    There were ‘glitches’ on the way to the moon, too. We still got there.