Tim Huelskamp (R-KA), basically the individual every invocation of “obstinate tea party wingnut congressman” refers to, thinks the ACA raised the uninsured rate in Kansas:
“It’s hard to get accurate numbers on anything,” the tea party congressman said. “But the numbers we see today is that — as I understand them — we believe there are more people uninsured today in Kansas than there were before the president’s health care plan went into effect. And I thought the goal was to bring more people into insurance.”
Of course, the national uninsured rate is falling, and fast, since the implementation of the ACA. But Huelskamp is being far more cynical than simple dissembling. Kansas rejected every provision of the ACA it could possibly reject: it didn’t set up a state exchange, and it didn’t take the federal government’s offer to expand Medicaid. Which is to say that Kansas went out of its way not to insure more of its residents, even on the federal government’s dime.
Sure enough, Gallup found last week that the uninsured rate is dropping three times as fast in states that embraced Obamacare than in states that did not*:
To refuse any and all participation in the ACA and then complain that it didn’t lower your uninsured rate is pretty nasty—except that this complaint was the entire goal behind refusing the expansion. Tens of thousands of people, many of them low-income, were denied insurance, but Tim Huelskamp got a talking point out of it. As we know, Huelskamps are gonna Huelskamp.
* Note that the uninsured rate is still falling, even in states that stuck their heads in the repealing sand.