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Paul A Duginski
Paul A Duginski
Paul Duginski is a political cartoonist and veteran newspaper staff artist. He enjoys reading history, literature and going bodyboarding whenever he has time.


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Posted in Politics / Elections / National

Shame on Mitch

Jul. 15, 2017 1:06 am
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Medicaid and its sister, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), provide a vital healthcare safety net in poor, rural parts of America. A majority in these areas supported Donald Trump in the 2016 election.

Almost every county in Appalachia, where the population is majority white, backed Trump in 2016. In the 574 American counties most dependent on Medicaid and CHIP, the majority of the population is white, and 561 of those counties voted for Trump.

Appalachia is among the poorest parts of America. In Fayette County, W.Va., for example, 58% of the children are on Medicaid or CHIP. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 564,000 people in West Virginia are covered by Medicaid. That’s in a state with a population of just 1.8 million. So nearly a third of the people statewide are on Medicaid, and 53% of the children are covered by Medicaid.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, is a Republican who represents neighboring Kentucky. Eastern Kentucky, which abuts West Virginia, is part of Appalachia. Like West Virginia, it contains counties heavily dependent on Medicaid.

Maybe these rural poor folks had good reason to vote for Trump, who promised in May 2015, “I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid.” But then, once in office, Trump released his budget proposal and it included huge cuts to Medicaid.

Trump also prattled endlessly about repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, which expanded Medicaid coverage by nearly 17 million people between the summer of 2013 and October 2016. Obamacare is known as Kynect in Kentucky.

Mitch McConnell, who you'd think might show some concern and compassion for his Appalachian constituents, hasn’t stopped talking about repealing and replacing Obamacare.

McConnell, who slavishly carries water for the Koch brothers, has worked as though his political life depended on ramming through a secretly negotiated Senate bill to repeal and replace the ACA. The most recent version, which came out Thursday, would keep the ACA’s taxes on high-income Americans, but would still take a meat ax to Medicaid and leave millions of people uninsured. We’re still waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to score this most recent iteration, but the earlier Republican healthcare plans would have left 22 million more Americans uninsured. Doctor, patient and other healthcare advocacy groups have been fervidly opposed.

Among those who would be harmed the most by these cuts would be poor children — children in McConnell’s own state. But then, McConnell doesn’t care about Kentuckians; he cares only about what the Koch brothers think.

Shame on you, Mitch McConnell.

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