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The Republican War on Rural Voters

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The Medicaid expansion in the ACA, re-written by John Roberts using an unprecedented and transparently incoherent constitutional argument he himself didn’t sincerely believe and subsequently rejected by many Republican legislators and governors, has saved rural hospitals in states that accepted it and killed hospitals (and people) in states that didn’t:

More than half of all rural hospitals in Mississippi, South Carolina, Georgia and Oklahoma lost money from 2011 through 2017.

In Kansas, the bloodletting was even more widespread.

Two out of three rural hospitals in the state operated in the red during the seven year period. Five were forced to shut down.

What these states also have in common is that legislators voted against expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, which would have provided coverage for hundreds of thousands of uninsured residents and bolstered rural hospital bottom lines.

Fiercely conservative and inherently distrustful of the federal government, state politicians balked at picking up 10 percent of the Medicaid expansion cost and repeatedly expressed fears that Washington bureaucrats would renege on generous Obamacare funding, leaving states to cover an ever increasing share of the healthcare burden.

That hasn’t happened yet.

In the meantime, residents of deep red rural America  — farmers and farm workers, small business owners and their employees, the old and infirm — are seeing their hospitals founder and close.

“The irony to me,” said John Henderson, who heads The Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals and supports Medicaid expansion, “is that we’re paying federal income taxes to expand coverage in other states. We’re exporting our coverage and leaving billions of dollars on the table.”

Always remember that ANTI-ELITIST Josh Hawley’s goal is to ensure massive rural hospital closures nationwide by getting Republican hacks in the federal courts to strike down the Affordable Care Act entirely, and marvel that there are actually professional pundits who will swallow his bullshit. The Republican Party is quite literally indifferent to the lives of the white rural voters that are critical to maintaining control of the Senate, White House and Supreme Court.

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