Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Kansas) stands opposed to any sort of expansion to Medicaid because he believes poor people will reject using any sort of health care, even free care, “just like Jesus said” they would.
Citing a biblical passage where Jesus justifies a woman anointing him with expensive oils, Marshall explained, “There is a group of people that just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves.”
“The Medicaid population, which is [on] a free credit card, as a group, do probably the least preventive medicine and taking care of themselves and eating healthy and exercising,” Marshall said in an interview with STAT news. “And I’m not judging, I’m just saying socially that’s where they are. So there’s a group of people that even with unlimited access to health care are only going to use the emergency room when their arm is chopped off or when their pneumonia is so bad they get brought [into] the ER.”
But Rep. Marshall’s claims go against measured outcomes. A Harvard study of the Affordable Care Act actually found the opposite held true, that individuals with lower incomes benefited positively from Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, and made fewer trips to the ER and more trips for preventative care.
And the Bible verse Marshall cites doesn’t even say to ignore the poor. It’s more about honoring those who honor Jesus, and not chastising the poor for being unable to fend for themselves. The Bible itself is riddled with examples of Jesus lashing out at those who refuse to help the poor.
Marshall was also recently criticized for a survey he sent constituents about what should be done about the Affordable Care Act. His survey, according to statisticians, could lead respondents to select answers that support Marshall’s politics, and don’t include answers that go against his beliefs.
Chris Walker has been writing about political issues for the past decade, including for sites such as Elite Daily, AMERICAblog, and Mic. You can follow him on Twitter @thatchriswalker.