The Rural United States faces serious economic damages if republican political forces continue to reject the expansion of Medicaid. Without the federal money authorized by the Affordable Care Act, many hospitals, especially those in low income communities, are at risk of closing all across the United States. Alex Thomson and Ryan Grim focus in on Wellington, Kansas, a town, like many others, that has suffered greatly due to the jurisdictions of the state legislature. Governor Sam Brownback of Willington ultimately vetoed the expansion of Medicaid which,  without the necessary funds, the local hospital will soon have to close. Unfortunately to no avail, before Brownback’s vetoing, officials from GKN Aerospace Precision Machining and other impassioned town leaders warned against the cessation of the expansion of Medicaid as “their workplace insurance premiums would jump, because insurers don’t look kindly on factories with no emergency room anywhere nearby. What’s more, recruitment is difficult in towns without hospitals, so without a hospital in Wellington, the company would consider moving elsewhere”  ultimately negatively impacting the town’s economy.


Thomson and Grim use anecdotal evidence to reveal the current day impact of hospital closure in Independence, Kansas. The community lost it’s hospital two years prior, and thus the residents medical safety and economic security remain at risk. Left without a choice, one women knowingly sacrificed her family’s well being for the safety of her son:


Rhonda Graven, a resident of Independence and at the time uninsured, was forced to make a drastic decision. She had her son Justin airlifted to Wichita but, when he arrived to operate on him without a signature from his parents, who were a 90 minute drive away (they could not accompany Justin in the helicopter). The effort proved fruitless; Graven attributes the lapse in time from the accident to surgery as the reason why doctors could not reattach the finger.


This traumatic event was made significantly worse once the bills came through. Costing nearly $40,000, Gravens paid as much as she could with the families credit cards, but unsurprisingly she could not keep up with the payments. Gravens current situation could have been avoided if there still remained a hospital in her town or if she had medical insurance she could afford.


Social Democracy has fought for an effective universal health care but neoliberal economic conditions have continued to slow its progression. The neoliberal argument against health care stems from a hayekian perspective that people’s health care needs have an “objectively ascertainable character”.  Neoliberals ask how a universal health care can be made if there is no ubiquitous grounding of human health care needs. Adam Gaffney connects how private healthcare and pharmaceutical industries remain protected in The Neoliberal turn in American Health Care “for the law fundamentally leaves intact a system of healthcare predicated, as we shall see, on key neoliberal health care beliefs, for instance the “moral hazard” of free care, the primacy of health consumerism, and the essentiality of the private health insurance industry”.  With the emphasis on consumerist choice and the right to private health care, those who can’t afford to choose get screwed.


Most republican neoliberal minded people fail to recognize that those in poor economic conditions have trouble affording health insurance. In states of medical emergency, the cost individuals without access to affordable public health care get buried under enormous medical bills. On October 1st, tragedy struck in in Las Vegas when a record breaking mass shooting killed over 50 people and left hundreds injured. Republican Brian Sandoval, governor of Nevada, vetoed legislation that would have allowed Nevadans to have access to the state’s Medicaid program, leaving those affected by the attack in economic crisis. Funds to support the victims now has to come from private crowdfunding. On the Nevada shooting, Zaid Jilani Reports:


Asking strangers for the charitable donations to tackle the medical bills is ubiquitous in the United States. A report by NerdWallet released in 2015 found that $930 million of the $2 billion raised by GoFundMe since its 2010 launch have been related to medical bills. Yet NerdWallet’s comprehensive survey of crowdfunding sites found that barely 1 in 10 medical campaigns raised the full amount they asked for.


This turn to charity ironically contrasts the nature of our government and neoliberal ideals. Americans have nowhere else to turn when they cannot afford their own medical bills but to the public for help. There is a commonality between right wing individuals fearing to pay for others health insurance. However now, via facebook and other social media platforms, we are all faced with the choice to support those in need that have and will suffer from our nations lack of universal health care. As described, barely “1 in 10 medical campaigns raised the full amount they asked for” and reveals more deeply how selfish individualism runs within American citizens.


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