Our Nation Was Utterly Unprepared for This

Greg Sargent discusses some of the same overlapping trends I wrote about yesterday. For example, yesterday I said that you look at the map of where people have been doing the least sheltering in place, it looks remarkably like the map of where Medicaid hasn’t been expanded.

Sargent writes,

What’s coming is a kind of perfect storm, according to experts I spoke with: Soaring unemployment risks pushing huge numbers of people into the ranks of the uninsured. Many of those people will probably seek Medicaid coverage, further straining state budgets.

Add into that combustible mix a coming wave of coronavirus cases, and you have what health economist Austin Frakt described to me as a “looming catastrophe.”

This may be felt with great intensity in the south. That’s because in that region, there is a developing situation that could prove very distressing in coming weeks. On one hand, there hasn’t been enough social distancing in these places. On the other, many of those states have not opted into the Medicaid expansion, which could make the health care crisis far more acute.

A great many people right now are losing their jobs and thereby their health insurance. Most probably qualify for COBRA, but the bite with COBRA is that it is grossly expensive, and if you don’t have other income coming in you may not be able to afford it. However, I understand that people who have recently lost jobs have a grace period with which to purchase insurance in the ACA marketplaces, possibly qualifying for subsidies.

But if you didn’t have insurance to begin with, the national ACA marketplace is closed to you. And Trump won’t open it. “Numerous Democratic-leaning states that run their own insurance markets have already reopened enrollment in recent weeks as the coronavirus threat grew,” it says in Politico. The Trump administration oversees enrollment for about two-thirds of states.

(According to this page, the states that completely run their own insurance markets are Washington, Idaho, Nevada, California, Colorado, Minnesota, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. A few states — Oregon, New Mexico, Maine, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and New Jersey — may be transitioning to a state-based platform. Arkansas and Kentucky have state-based marketplaces on the federal platform which I suspect would stop them from opening the enrollment period now. Everyone else is completely at the mercy of Trump.)

Anyway, put together the soaring unemployment numbers, the huge percentage of the population without health insurance, and the strain on the medical care system, and you’ve got a catastrophe that won’t go away when the pandemic ends. It will be with us for quite a while. And it’s going to hit the south and big chunks of the midwest (see maps above) especially hard.

Back to Greg Sargent:

“What it means is a lot more hardship, health problems and death,” Frakt, the health economist, told me. Frakt noted that the virus is now likely to spread in those regions, which will dovetail in a terrible way with the failure to expand Medicaid.

“People who have lost their jobs and have nowhere else to turn,” if they can’t get on Medicaid, “they’ll have great difficulty affording the care they’ll need,” Frakt said.

Or, as Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation bluntly put it, “poor people in states that haven’t expanded Medicaid” will have “no help.” And those ranks will swell. …

…Ominously, in some of these states, cases are mounting. As of now, Florida has over 9,000 confirmed cases; Georgia has nearly 5,500; Texas has nearly 5,000; Tennessee has nearly 3,000; and North Carolina has nearly 2,000.

And then there is the economic hit the nation is taking. Paul Krugman discusses it here, basically saying that it doesn’t necessarily have to be a long-range economic disaster except that the Trump Administration is in charge. So it probably will be.

Other Stuff to Read

Michelle Goldberg, Putting Jared Kushner In Charge Is Utter Madness

Paul Waldman, Trump’s ignorant son-in-law is running the coronavirus response. That’s unacceptable.

Paul Waldman, How this crisis could help us get to health-care reform

Charles Pierce, Robert Kraft Did a Good Thing. Now What Happens to Other States Without an NFL Team?

DALLAS, TX – SEPTEMBER 14: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the American Airlines Center on September 14, 2015 in Dallas, Texas. More than 20,000 tickets have been distributed for the event. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

8 thoughts on “Our Nation Was Utterly Unprepared for This

  1. One more thing, those States without Medicaid expansion have seen a significant contraction in the availability of hospitals in general, much less hospitals capable of handling a surge in patients needing critical care.

  2. Seeing Jared's sorry Ass on the stage really made it a whole new low.

    Why not bring kelleyanne and hope hicks?

    He was calling robert Costa fake news and I thought well you're the fake president.

  3. I have to say:I do Medicaid eligibility in a non expansion state. We got a email from above today that directed us not to close any cases. Everybody that is covered is covered for the duration. So I thought I'd pass that on. At least they're not dropping anyone.

  4. In this time of "The Great tRUMP Fuster-cluck," I believe that I can speak fòr most, if not all, non-MAGAt Americans when I say that I'd rather have the Obama's first dog, Bo, as POTUS right now, and the Obama's second dog, Sunny, as either VP, or First Lady – her choice!

    Bo, is much, much, much smarter, competent and compassionate than tRUMP – also, Bo has been potty-trained, and has not sexually assaulted any female dogs.

    As for Sunny, if she chose to be the VP,  the above applies to to her v. Pence – who, not only never sexually assaulted a woman, I'll never be convinced he actually had sex with one!  Including, "Mother," Pence's actual wife.  "Mother!"  And HOO-BOY!  I'm sure Freud's corpse would love to leap out of his grave to run to be the first analyst to analyze this anal cyst (in human form?)! 

    Now, Sunny would also make a finer First Lady than Melanoma, tRUMP's First Bitch! (FYI: I-Wanker is the Second Bitch* – or maybe not, if the rumors are true about her daddy and her.  Maybe she as Melanoma need to switch places)!

    And if a POTUS ever had a goldfish, that goldfish would be far smarter, competent, and caring son-in-law than Jared!

    And don't get me started on JoonEyor & Erk!


    *I-Wanker is also known as The First Shady! 

  5. Microsoft network is running a story from fact checker which contends reports from the administration of empty shelves of supplies were inherited is false.  The government site they link to shows incredible supply inheritance.  The following is a quote from the extensive website about their inventory, The Department of Health and Human Services.

    If a community experiences a large-scale public health incident in which the disease or agent is unknown, the first line of support from the stockpile is to send a broad-range of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies. Contents are pre-packed and configured in transport-ready containers for rapid delivery anywhere in the United States within 12 hours of the federal decision to deploy. Each package contains 50 tons of emergency medical resources.

    The stockpile has medicines and supplies stored in strategically located warehouses throughout the country ready for deployment. Immediately shipping a variety of items to the affected state allows authorities to begin or sustain response efforts. All states have plans to receive and distribute these medical countermeasures quickly to local jurisdictions.


    The article from fact checker leads with this statement.

    More than once, President Donald Trump has falsely claimed that the federal stockpile of emergency medicine and supplies he inherited from his predecessor was an “empty shelf.”

    While the government does not publicize all of the contents of the repository, at the time Trump took office, the Strategic National Stockpile, as it is formally known, reportedly contained vast amounts of materials that state and local health officials could use during an emergency, including vaccines, antiviral drugs, ventilators and protective gear for doctors and nurses.


    Is it possible that the country was prepared, and stocks exist that are not being utilized?  This and a thousand other questions come to mind.  Now is not the time for a crisis of credibility. 

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