While the percentage of people on Medicaid has risen steadily in the country for the last several years, the conventional explanation widely circulated is that this is purely due to the recession (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/01/health/policy/01medicaid.html). That is certainly true, but looking deeper into this requires a look at the individual states where the Medicaid roles are increasing the most. When that is done, the states with the highest increases have something in common more than just being part of the recession in the country as a whole. It’s not discussed much anywhere that can be found, but it should surely be considered that gambling is having some very negative effects that are added to the other reasons for recession.
It’s true that places which rely heavily upon gambling for their economy are suffering more because people are not gambling as much now and that has resulted in more people being without jobs in these areas, but that certainly doesn’t explain the results of gambling in an area when there is no recession occurring. There are many well-documented effects of gambling upon society and the negatives certainly outweigh the positives. The cost to society per pathological gambler is over $10,000 per year and the percentage of pathological gamblers varies from state to state, but costs this country billions of dollars every year.
If gambling were not so connected with corruption, we would not be reading about politicians this week in Alabama being arrested for accepting bribes for their votes ( http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/10/04/alabama-state-lawmakers-indicted-selling-votes-casino-bills/?test=latestnews). Governor Riley is to be commended for his stance against the gambling promoters who constantly are looking for ways to get more people to gamble with their money, their future—and our future.
It’s time for legislators and other politicians with some fortitude to study the contribution of gambling to the increases in Medicaid rolls. Many media outlets will ignore this call because they have an interest in getting advertising money. We now see evidence why some politicians are ignoring this topic of concern. Where are those leaders who will stand against those who take advantage of others, contribute to ruin of many, and cost our society in many more ways than just financially? The tax money that gambling provides to any area is offset by its negative effects.