Jon Stewart started out Thursday night's Daily Show by reminding viewers that the ObamaCare launch was marred by technological glitches. But there was another major obstacle to ObamaCare's implementation, he added: "Total dickishness."
He's referring to the 26 states that opted out of expanding Medicaid to people above the poverty line but who are too poor to be meaningfully helped by ObamaCare's insurance subsidies. The federal government pays for all of the Medicaid expansion for the first three years, and thereafter for no less than 90 percent of it, so why would governors turn down the chance to help their working poor?
"Spite," Stewart concluded. It turns out that all 26 states are controlled by Republican governors or legislatures, he noted. So the obvious answer is that GOP state officials are playing a game Stewart dubbed "What do you hate more: Poverty or Obama?" Since the states won't list "spite" as their guiding rationale, Stewart surmised, what do they say?
Stewart showed answers to that question from Gov. Rick Perry (R) of Texas, the state with the most uninsured children; Gov. Phil Bryant (R) of Mississippi, the "49th healthiest state in the union": and Missouri State Sen. John Lamping (R). Their answers vary from not wanting to support ObamaCare to not wanting to pick up the (all or mostly federally covered) costs.
The kicker, Stewart said, is that all but three of the 26 states are "taker" states that already get more money from the federal government than they contribute. "If statehood was health care, Mississippi and Missouri would be rejected as having that as a pre-existing condition."
Stewart's final point was made with the help of 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, whom he bitingly referred to as "historical footnote." Romney argued that the U.S. already offers health care to the poor and uninsured via emergency rooms. That's a terrible, inexpensive solution that raises insurance rates, Stewart said. Look, if Republicans have a better idea for how to fix our medical system, let's hear it, "but don't make your plan: 'What do we need food stamps for when we already have dine-and-dash?'"
In the middle part of the show, correspondent Aasif Mandvi talked to anti-immigration activist Dennis Michael Lynch — as well as a few immigration experts who don't exactly see eye to eye with Lynch. Watch:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The mystery behind China's aggressive push into space
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The best places to find love — and lust — according to science
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- Sex can't explain the culture war
- Boyhood's refreshingly unsentimental take on motherhood
- Why GOP reformers are bound to fail
- How a drafting error could doom Obama's carbon regulations
- The 5 best and worst states for a well-lived life
- This simple hack for slicing cherry tomatoes will astound you
Subscribe to the Week