Governors who refuse to expand their state Medicaid programs to accommodate the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are “doing an extreme disservice to their citizens,” the National Black Church Initiative (NBCI) said Oct.11.
The NBCI, a coalition of 34,000 churches representing 15.7 million African American churchgoers, labeled governors who are blocking implementation of President Obama’s signature health care reform initiative as “wrong, misguided, and placing more undue financial burdens on the backs of the poor and middle class.”
“We are ashamed to see governors throughout our country refusing to expand Medicaid in their states as a part of the ACA – what we see as President Obama’s greatest accomplishment and indeed one of the greatest laws in American history,” NBCI President Rev Anthony Evans said in a statement released Oct. 11.
The Black ministers’ group “applauds President Obama and his administration on the greatest legislation accomplishment in decades.” They characterized the statute as a “monumental law [that] will provide quality and affordable health care access to millions of underserved in the African American community” and added that “its implementation is long overdue.”
The statement was issued at the end of the second week of a chaotic inaugural sign-up period for health insurance under the ACA. Yet, the NBCI statement pointed out, “more than twenty states, mainly Republican-led ... are refusing to expand Medicaid or leaning in that direction.”
Evans singled out the GOP for criticism, too. “As a party that proclaims Christianity is the center of their ideology, I am dumbfounded at these governors’ inactions. Every citizen in the United States has a God-given right to accessible and affordable health care,” he said.
“NBCI will do everything in its power to advocate for a decision reversal in these states, and will work tirelessly to make sure the mission of the ACA reaches each American.”