How dead is the effort to overturn the Affordable Care Act? It's "Utah is expanding Medicaid under the program" dead.
Yes, Utah. One of the most Red states in the union. Governor Gary Herbert has made a proposal that will let qualifying residents of his state use federal money for expanded Medicaid coverage. (The plan has to be approved by the Obama Administration.)
But almost more than the action, it was Herbert's reasoning that's the biggest nail in the anti-Obamacare movement.
"Doing nothing ... I've taken off the table," the Republican governor said to the Salt Lake Tribune. "Doing nothing is not an option."
But further, he also explained that 60,000 Utah residents will now be able to get health care, saying that it's "not fair" to leave them uncovered.
I've always believed that that's been one of the biggest points why efforts against the ACA would fail. Because ultimately even far right politicians would see how outraged their state's residents (read: "voters") would become if most others around the country were getting financial coverage, but not them, merely because their state's politicians were simply trying to score political points.
When the governor of such a Red state says that "Doing nothing is not an option" and that it's "not fair" to those uncovered, you know the bend in the road is turning.
By the way, a few weeks ago I got my first, official insurance bill after changing companies and plans under the Affordable Care Act. I never enjoyed paying a bill so much. It was that low. But when last week I picked up some prescription medicine, I literally almost started laughing when I was told how little it was. (It was $3 for a month supply! I wanted to tell the pharmacist that they should just blow off the charge because the paperwork probably cost more.) And while I know that not everyone will have a similar drop, I have no doubt that countless will -- or just lower costs, period, whatever the amount -- and people will actually like that, playing less. And some a lot less.
And none of that even takes into consideration all the other benefits of the ACA that have nothing to do with whether one gets financial savings or not, but are purely basic health benefits that everyone now receives: no lifetime caps on coverage, not being blocked from coverage because of a pre-existing condition, having one's children up to the age of 26 on a parent's coverage, annual checkups covered, much preventative care covered, and much more.
And now Utah -- Utah! -- has joined the caravan.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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