Sunday, November 10, 2013

Medicaid Coverage Gap and the religious duty to help the poor

The refusal of many states to accept expanded Medicaid funding from the federal government as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) has put many lower income people in peril, according to reports such as one from KSDK about the situation in Missouri, link here
  
Republican leaders say that Medicaid is so badly run that they want no further part of it, and deny that they want to leave people in the dark.  The news story tells about one childless woman with ovarian cancer, “I’m going to die”.  They can’t get on Medicaid or get subsidies for the exchange purchases either, if the state doesn’t accept expansion of Medicaid.
     
Kaiser Health has a story about “non expansion states” here.
But CNN has a long story by John Blake on its religion blog about attitudes toward how the poor should be helped, especially in matters of health care, “The Obamacare ‘scandal’ you haven’t heard about” here.
    
The article talks about the double talk from conservative pastors on helping the poor.  Getting personally involved in helping others is seen as a Christian (and more generally religious) obligation – “even when it costs you something” and requires radical hospitality or compassion.  But people typically don’t want go much beyond the needy within their own “natural families”. 


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