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Ellison’s Must Read of the Day

Ellison must read
• June 4, 2014 9:24 am

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My must read of the day is "The Hidden Failure of Obama’s Health Care Overhaul," in Roll Call:

At least 2.9 million Americans who signed up for Medicaid coverage as part of the health care overhaul have not had their applications processed, with some paperwork sitting in queues since last fall, according to a 50-state survey by CQ Roll Call.

Those delays — due to technological snags with enrollment websites, bureaucratic tangles at state Medicaid programs and a surge of applicants — betray Barack Obama’s promise to expand access to health care for some of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens. […]

Meanwhile, Republicans usually eager to criticize the Obama administration or states for implementation problems risk looking hypocritical by showcasing the Medicaid waits. Many oppose expanding the program to people with incomes as high as 138 percent of the federal poverty line, as the law allows states to do, and are loath to demand more efficient enrollment to achieve that goal.

"It’s a total contradiction in terms to spend your public time castigating Medicaid as something that never should have been expanded for poor people and as a broken, problem-riddled system, and then turn around and complain about the length of time to enroll people," said Sara Rosenbaum, a member of the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission, which advises Congress.

No—that's not a contradiction at all, and more Republicans should be criticizing this.

Long wait times do not undermine the argument that it's a "broken, problem-riddled system;" they embolden it. This demonstrates a systemic problem that begins before the actual healthcare, which many conservatives also point to as being subpar in quality.

According to this report, North Carolina, a state that didn't accept the expansion, has one of the worst backlogs in the country. Despite that, Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan has attacked her Republican opponent for failing to support the expansion. If enrollments are not being processed right now, how much worse would the backlog be if it was expanded?

Democrats promised the Medicaid expansion would provide healthcare to millions and ridiculed Republicans for opposing it, yet across the country the program is failing to even process millions of the enrollment forms. Isn’t that the easy part?

Published under: Medicaid