State Rep. Cochran Lambastes GOP Plan to Punish the Poor for Being Unhealty

Just when you think Republicans can’t sink lower, they do.

A new measure not yet introduced but under consideration by Republicans would threaten Medicaid recipients with losing their benefits if they engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking or being overweight. Medicaid provides health insurance for people with little or no income, and the Healthy Michigan Plan is part of Medicaid expansion in Michigan under the Affordable Care Act.

State Rep. Tom Cochran (D-Mason) isn’t down with that.

“I’m shocked and yet I’m not shocked to think the Republicans would try social engineering and demand that people radically change their life styles,” said Democrat Rep. Tom Cochran.

Democrat Rep. Cochran concludes it’s not far-fetched in thinking that losing health insurance could result in deaths. “I think its a little dangerous of them to think they are going to dictate to people how they live their lives.”

Thank you, Rep. Cochran. Not to mention, it’s often far easier to tell someone to change behaviors than to actually do it.

Eating healthier and losing weight? Who doesn’t want to do that? But eating healthier is more expensive, and that expense exists at a time when Republicans are doing everything they can to reduce food assistance and limit it to fewer and fewer people. According to a Harvard study, eating a healthy diet costs about $1.50 more a day. Sure, it might not sound like much, but that’s $45 a month. And that’s for one person. For a family of four, that’s $180 a month, and that can be an enormous sum for a family that’s earning so little that they already qualify for Medicaid.

Stopping drinking? Sure. Is the state going to pony up for anti-addiction services? I haven’t heard that idea floated by Republicans. If they really cared, if better health was really their aim, they’d make it easier for people to buy wholesome food and get help for breaking addictions.

To take health care away from people who you know have health problems is ghoulish. And it’s exactly what we’ve come to expect from Republicans.

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