When Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced that Tennessee would not expand Medicaid yesterday, thereby walking away from $10,000,000,000 in direct Federal aid, and $30,000,000,000 in economic impact over 10 years, I thought reaction from the 4th estate would be swift.
To my dismay, it was not.
Politicians did react, almost immediately. This message from the Tennessee House Minority Leader, Craig Fitzhugh is one of the more comprehensive statements. As I mentioned yesterday, Rep. Mike Stewart (D-Nashville) has the quote of the day, simply calling Haslam a coward.
There’s been little analysis of the walking away from the positives expansion would have brought…not to mention the additional 10,000+ jobs that would almost immediately follow. Nor has there been much mention of the 300,000 working class people left in the lurch, or the 1.1m people who live in counties that will have no hospitals…and likely lose most of their doctors as a result.
The map above is just another visualization of the map I published in yesterday’s post.
The Human Impact
Numbers don’t tell the personal stories of those impacted, but they can give us an idea of the scale, size, and scope of a problem, and how that might negatively impact people.
While everyone needs healthcare, there are some groups that, because of their circumstances, need it to be closer to home than others. Those groups are: Children, the elderly, and the poor.
Below are some charts that detail just how many people will be directly impacted in each of those groups for the counties that are most likely to be left without a hospital (Hospital Deserts).
Children in Hospital Deserts
Elderly in Hospital Deserts
Poor in Hospital Deserts
Hospital Desert Overview
Human Impact – Final Analysis
As the last chart shows, nearly 49% of the people in these 30 counties are at risk of having a catastrophic health event and suffering more than they should due to the lack of hospital availability.
Does that mean 49% of the population will have a catastrophic event?
Not necessarily, but placing people in undue risk for political purposes says something about a person. It speaks to the weight they put on the value of people’s lives and livelihoods.
While these 30 counties will feel the impact more harshly than all the counties that will lose hospitals, all the counties will feel an economic impact.
I’ll cover that in more detail in a future post.