Heartlessly, most Republican governors and legislatures across America refuse to expand Medicaid, which would provide health care to nearly 8 million more "working poor" Americans. In effect, the GOP is saying: To hell with left-out families -- we don't care whether they get medical treatment.
When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act in 2010, it required states to extend Medicaid coverage to marginal families earning less than 138 percent of the poverty level. This increase takes effect Jan. 1. The federal government pays all costs during the first three years, and 90 percent thereafter.
When the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ACA, it changed one point: Justices let individual states decide whether to join the Medicaid expansion.
So far, two dozen conservative-led states have rejected the humane plan. This matches militancy of House Republicans in Washington, who voted more than 40 times to abolish the ACA -- and shut down the federal government in a futile attempt to destroy the humanitarian law.
What a remarkable exercise in cruelty: extreme action to prevent less-privileged Americans from obtaining health insurance.
Last week, Ohio's Republican governor, John Kasich, defied his GOP-dominated legislature and accepted the Medicaid expansion. Swiftly, six Ohio GOP leaders sued him to block his compassionate act. We hope the governor prevails.
Health care should be a human right for everyone. Most modern democracies around the world embrace this principle and provide universal coverage for all citizens. But U.S. conservatives fight bitterly against the concept -- just as they opposed most other humane advances during the past century.Between now and Jan. 1, we hope more states overcome GOP resistance and extend health care to the working poor.