To The Daily Sun,
I read with interest Marc Abear's letter on the economic freedom of states that rejected the expansion of Medicaid. I have always found the laboratories of the states to be of great interest. I wonder what economic freedom really means, though. What can the states actually teach us? Firstly, in a recent 2014 Wallet-Hub study, the top 14 of 15 "moocher" states turned out to be Republican-run states.
This is because the feds have to make up the revenue shortfalls in Republican-run states that keep wages low with right-to-work laws and have state income and corporate tax rates that are lower than the rest of the nation. With less revenue collected due to this alleged "economic freedom," Republican-controlled states receive inordinately more federal government provided revenue than states with higher tax rates.
These allegedly economically freer states receive a higher percentage of return for every dollar they paid in federal taxes. Moocher states are dependent on federal funding from other states that receive a lower percentage of return for their tax dollars to support their low taxes and "economic freedom." In other words, the economic freedom of many red states costs the rest of us who are more fiscally responsible with gathering revenues.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2014 American Community Survey, the 10 poorest states are Mississippi, West Virginia, Arkansas, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, New Mexico, South Caroline, and Montana. All but one (Alaska) of the richest states were Democratic-controlled states. New Hampshire was seventh. Of the fourteen states with the highest unemployment rates, all but California and Oregon were Republican-run states.
The 10 least healthy states are Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Tennessee, West Virginia, Alabama, North Carolina, Indiana. The 10 healthiest states were mostly blue states, but Republican-controlled Utah (no surprise), Nebraska, and North Dakota made the list. Of the top six states on food stamps, all but Oregon are Republican-run states. In states that did not expand Medicaid, the obvious has happened. While the rate of uninsured people ages 19 to 64 living in poverty was 17 percent in Medicaid expanded states, the rate was 36 percent in states that didn't expand Medicaid as of June 2014. All but three of the least healthy states are states that did not expand Medicaid. West Virginia, Arkansas, and Kentucky want to get off that list. The 20 poorest states in income are all Republican-run states, and all but seven have refused to expand Medicaid. In matters of infant mortality rates, red states once again dominate. This is also true of gun murder, obesity, STDs, divorce, high school dropout, teen pregnancy, and church attendance rates.
Not expanding Medicaid also costs lives because expanded coverage reduces mortality rates. But as we all know, the "principles" of the Tea Party's version of capitalism are more important to TeaBilly than human lives. Except fetuses, that is.
- Category: Letters
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