Sunday, November 7, 2010

Getting Rid of Medicaid

The new ascendant Republicans are thinking of all sorts of clever ways to subvert the new health care plan. The one seriously proposed by some in Texas to opt out of the state's Medicaid program is just such a subversion that even I thought serious people would not consider. Medicaid is a combined state and federal program that pays health care costs for the poor, disabled and chronically ill. States differ in their generosity of their respective Medicaid programs, both because of their relative wealth and because of their social priorities. The Feds kick in at least 50% of the total cost, but in some cases (such as in D.C.), provide a much greater portion of the total tab. Red states in the South are not particularly generous to begin with. But getting rid of Medicaid altogether? I know it is a great cost savings (and a potential boon to the funeral industry). How about getting rid of the mandatory public school system? That would save a lot of costs too. Taxes would go down dramatically. And think of all you could do with that extra money. Come to think of it, the extra money would go to propping up drowning hospital systems managing newly uninsured patients and making all those private school tuitions.
The proponents of getting rid of Medicaid say that such patients would be part of the health care pools set up by the new health care law, so, no muss, no fuss. Right. Those health care pools, with their mandatory requirements to sign up for health insurance, are going to fought by those same anti-Medicaid Republicans.
My faith in the ability of the new health care law to positively affect the ills of our health care system go down day by day.

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