Donald Rizer doesn’t know it, but I put everything I had into electing President Obama so that Mr. Rizer could have access to affordable health care. And he would have it, as Kevin Drum points out, if not for Bush-appointed Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, and the Republican-led Georgia legislature.

Donald Rizer is a 58 year old man with an aching shoulder that limits how much he can work. And he just lost his job that was paying him only about $800 a month. The cheapest health care plan he can find on the federal exchange is $200 a month, which he clearly cannot afford.

He blames the president.

“Obama,” he said, “he thinks that he’s helping things, but he ain’t.”

The Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act, as written, would have provided 100% of the money needed for the state of Georgia to put Mr. Rizer on Medicaid, and he could have gone and had a doctor take a look at that shoulder. If he made a little more money, the law, as written, would have given Mr. Rizer a subsidy to buy that $200/mo. plan, leaving him to pay no more than 2% of his income. We’re talking about a bill that would probably be less than $30 a month.

But Chief Justice John Roberts ruled that the states cannot be compelled to expand Medicaid. And Gov. Nathan Deal decided that he wouldn’t accept free money to expand Medicaid. And the Georgia legislature was just fine with that, even though it means that they’ll have a much harder to time making ends meet and balancing their budget.

Finally, if Mr. Rizer wants to complain about the workability of, he can blame Georgian Republicans for that, too, because he wouldn’t have to use it if his own state government had agreed to set up their own exchange.

Donald Rizer is angry, but his anger is misplaced. Rather than complaining about the president who tried to help him, he should be angry with the people who prevented him from being helped.

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Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at