Winnifred Storli’s letter to the editor (Aug. 1) rightly pointed out that many low-income Montana residents are treated immorally with regard to their health care needs.
She cited a situation in which a low-income woman was unable to qualify for health insurance for her cancer because she didn’t earn enough money to qualify for Obamacare and earned too much to qualify for Medicaid, thus being left with no opportunity to buy affordable health insurance.
As a nurse, I wholeheartedly agree with Storli’s view that low-income residents in this state are treated unjustly with regard to their health care needs.
However, what Storli apparently doesn’t make clear in her letter, is that the Affordable Health Care Act, as originally proposed, would have provided for her friend, Alice.
Medicaid expansion, as articulated in the act, would have provided for people like her friend, and for the nearly 70,000 other low-income citizens in Montana who now find themselves in this same predicament.
Instead, when the Supreme Court of the United States left the decision about expanding Medicaid to the states, Montana’s Republican-led legislature ignored the testimony of hospitals, doctors, nurses, public health providers and many, many people who would be seriously harmed if Medicaid expansion did not occur. The Republicans declined to accept federal money to fund Medicaid, resulting in approximately 70,000 Montana citizens being caught in the same predicament as Storli’s friend.
They remain in that predicament today, and the money, which would have come to Montana to remedy this situation is now given away to other states, which wisely supported the Medicaid expansion for their citizens.
Our tax dollars, yours and mine, now go to other states to provide for the health care of their citizens.
It is the Montana legislature, with its Republican majority, not the Affordable Care Act, which bears responsibility for this “immoral treatment of the poor” as described in Storli’s letter.
We have an opportunity to remedy this situation. Please make support for expansion of Medicaid one of the criteria you use in choosing whom you vote for in the up-coming election. Make your vote count for the well-being of all Montana citizens.