Koch Bros. group leader: Extending Obamacare deadline takes health care from my children

By Arturo Garcia
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 23:51 EDT
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Americans for Prosperity PA state Director Jennifer Stefano [MSNBC]
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MSNBC host Chris Hayes clashed with a state official for the Koch Brothers-funded group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) on Wednesday after she claimed that extending the deadline to sign up for the Affordable Care Act by two weeks would have a negative impact on her childrens’ health care.

“It continues to not allow people to go back and change this law,” AFP Pennsylvania State Director Jennifer Stefano told Hayes. “This law has made seven million people lose their insurance.”

As Reuters reported earlier in the day, the deadline to sign up for Obamacare, as the law is commonly known, was extended until April 15 for people who have already begun the subscription process through the healthcare.gov website. As of March 17, more than 5 million people had signed up for coverage.

“People without health care right now, who don’t have health care for their children, don’t want this law, Chris,” Stefano said.

She did not mention that, in several instances, people who were refused coverage by their providers because their plans did not meet the minimum requirements set by the new law have in fact been eligible for coverage at a lower cost after factoring in government subsidies.

“As a mother, I take real offense that women are being forced to have no choices to cover their children,” Stefano continued.

“What are you talking about?” an incredulous Hayes responded, before arguing that much of the “heavy lifting” under the law would be accomplished by expansion of state Medicare programs, which have been frequently been opposed by conservatives.

“Throw out the mandate, throw out the exchange,” Hayes then told her. “Bumping up Medicaid eligibility from 100 percent of poverty line to 133 percent of poverty line so that some working poor people can get some health insurance — what is the objection to that? Why does every conservative Republican governor oppose that? Explain that to me.”

“Number one, not true,” Stefano answered. “Plenty of Republican governors, including Tom Corbett in Pennsylvania, including [Ohio Gov. John Kasich], there are Republican governors that have expanded Medicaid. Please, please, please, spare me that this is a Republican-Democrat thing.”

“Do you believe in Medicaid expansion?” Hayes asked.

“I have a real problem, when you talk about raising the poverty level, that’s people making $94,000 a year,” she said. “They’re not poor. That is taking resources from the poor.”

“Not on the Medicaid expansion,” Hayes said, shaking his head.

“The expansion of Medicaid is a moral issue, not an economic one,” Stefano charged.

“That’s a math trainwreck, that’s not the Medicaid expansion,” he said.

Watch the discussion, as aired on MSNBC on Wednesday, below.

Arturo Garcia
Arturo Garcia
Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. He is based in San Diego, California and has written for both print and broadcast media, including contributions to GlobalComment.com, The Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt
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