A new video featuring Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber, uncovered by White House Dossier today, shows Gruber concurring that some states refusing to expand Medicaid as part of Obamacare do so out of racist motives and asserting that the refusal is “almost awesome in its evilness” and an effort to “punish poor people.”
About half the states have refused to accept federal dollars to expand their Medicaid programs as part of the new insurance coverage provided under the Affordable Care Act. States say they have done so not to hurt poor people – or minorities, for that matter – but because they view Medicaid as a failed program and fear that the increasing costs of the expansion to be born by the states are unaffordable.
Many probably also think Obamacare harms their populations and don’t want to take actions that would support it.
Gruber, in an April 2014 conversation with Harold Pollack of the University of Chicago for the website healthinsurance.org, concurs with Pollack’s contention that some states are denying Medicaid expansion out of racist motives and describes this as an evil effort to punish the poor.
From the conversation:
POLLACK: One of the things that’s really striking to me is, there’s is a politics of impunity towards poor people, particularly non-white poor people that – it’s almost a feature rather than a bug in the internal politics in some of these states, not to cover people under Medicaid even if it’s financially very advantageous to do so.
I think there’s a really important principle to defeat this politically, not just because Medicaid is important for people, but because it’s such a toxic political perspective. It has to be shown that that approach to politics doesn’t work, because otherwise we will really be stuck with some very unjust policies that will be pursued with complete impunity in some of these places.
GRUBER: You know, that’s a great way to put it: There’s larger principles at stake here, when these states are not just turning down covering the poor people, but turning down the federal stimulus that would come with that.
They’re not just not interested in covering poor people, they’re willing to sacrifice billions of dollars in injections into their economy in order to punish poor people. I mean, it really is just almost awesome in its evilness. And I agree, you have to recognize there’s larger principles at stake here.