“We came to this country, and we are legal and we work really hard,” Gladys Arbila said in a recent New York Times article. “Why we don’t have the same opportunities as the others?”
This is one of the most basic dilemmas of all time. Although we claim to provide “equal opportunities” and say that “everyone can have a shot at the American dream,” is it really true? Arbila is a resident of Houston, Texas and has a son currently serving in Afghanistan. What unfair opportunities is she referring to? — Healthcare.
The current healthcare situation is the epitome of bitter irony: Medicaid was meant to make healthcare affordable to all Americans, yet because so many states are refusing to expand their Medicaid, about eight million people will be left uninsured. The complicated components of the law are causing those people to lose their eligibility for insurance.
According to the Times article by Sabrina Tavernise and Rober Gebeloff, “Those excluded will be stranded without insurance, stuck between people with slightly higher incomes who will qualify for federal subsidies on the new health exchanges that went live this week, and those who are poor enough to qualify for Medicaid in its current form…”
It’s staggering that a government program meant to help people is instead hurting them. Not just the overwhelming amount of people, but the role that race is playing into this debate is significant too.
24 states have declined the expansion of Medicaid programs, which is interesting because most of them are are Southern Republican states — where most of the of the poverty lies.
*Check out this info graphic:http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/10/02/us/uninsured-americans-map.html?ref=health
“The irony is that these states that are rejecting Medicaid expansion — many of them Southern — are the very places where the concentration of poverty and lack of health insurance are the most acute,” Dr. H. Jack Geiger said.
According to the article, “Blacks are disproportionately affected, largely because more of them are poor and living in Southern states. In all, 6 out of 10 blacks live in the states not expanding Medicaid.”
Although opponents of expanding Medicaid argue that race is not a factor in their decisions, it is an importatnt factor to consider. It makes you question, what really are the motives and incentives of the politicans? How can so many people be stranded without proper healthcare? Are we just going to say to them, ‘Sorry, hard luck’?
Arbila is one of those people because as a housekeeper she earns too much to qualify for Medicaid benefits but not enough to qaulify for subsidies. For Arbila and the millions of others, being in the middle is an unfortunate plight.
*Read more about the situation in the article: Millions of Poor are Left Uncovered by Health Law