The impression that lawmakers in states like Missouri and Kansas give is they don’t like or much want to keep residents who are stuck in low-paying jobs.
The feeling comes from the Republican-controlled legislatures’ resistance to expanding the Medicaid program through the Affordable Care Act. A report released Thursday says its not the unemployed who would benefit the most from Medicaid expansion, The Kansas City Star reports.
It’s people who are in low-wage jobs such as store clerks, fast-food workers, cooks, cabdrivers, housekeepers and waitresses. The Republican and tea party politics of “no” to anything President Barack Obama wants is hurting people at the bottom of the wage scale.
Couple that with an Institute for Policy Studies released this week showing that fast-food and other low-wage workers have to use at least one type of government assistance such as food stamps, Medicaid or other programs just to get by. Republicans resist Obama’s efforts to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 from $7.25 an hour, and red states like Kansas and Missouri won’t expand Medicaid even though it will help many low-wage workers and many rural hospitals serving that struggling population.
GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney seemed to have accurately captured Republicans’ feelings about low-wage Americans — they’re the 47 percent he called “takers” who rely on federal aid. But people are blamed for a system that’s set up to keep them struggling while the rich keep getting wealthier, the income gap grows, the middle class keeps evaporating and the ranks of the poor grow.