Friday, April 08, 2005

Missouri Cuts Medicaid

Where is the religious right on this? Why are there no candle light prayer groups on the capital steps of Missouri? How does this nation go one week from fighting for Terri Schiavo to Cutting health care for 100,000 poor people? Where is the 'culture of life' now?

Mo. Lawmakers Pass Bill Cutting Medicaid

By DAVID A. LIEB, Associated Press Writer

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Missouri lawmakers passed a bill authorizing the elimination or reduction of Medicaid health coverage for tens of thousands of low-income residents.

The state House on Thursday sent the bill to Gov. Matt Blunt, delivering him a key victory in his budget battle. The state Senate passed the measure last month.

The House vote came the same day a committee was finalizing a roughly $19 billion spending plan that would implement the Medicaid cuts beginning July 1. The House is expected to debate the budget next week.

Blunt, a Republican, and GOP legislative leaders say the Medicaid cuts are needed to balance a budget that increases school funding without seeking higher taxes.

Opponents contend the health care cuts could be life-threatening to the disabled, elderly and affected parents.


(Full Story)

6 comments:

MaxedOutMama said...

But the story is the same in every state, Dingo. It seems much worse in Tennessee. Our own brand of this program in GA is in funding trouble. Everybody's is in funding trouble.

And it's not quite the same issue. Whether you have your insurance through a private company or a public program, some medical treatment will not be authorized. Rationing is here. And there's another type of rationing as well. If you go to a hospital in extremis they can't throw you out to die on the sidewalk. However, non-public hospitals can refuse to admit you for treatment if you aren't going to die or suffer severe injury. For some areas, the real battle is to keep the county hospitals open so that people have access.

You know what? I have had multiple people tell me that I should go on disability and/or get Medicaid, because I will get better medical care than any private insurance program. I won't do it because I think everyone has to contribute, but honestly, we are not abusing the poor, in general, in this country any more than any other percentage of the population.

There are not good and simple answers to some of these questions. The last thing we want to do is close some of the non-profit hospitals, because they have and will continue to be the primary source of care for many people. But we are definitely faced with structuring the type of care provided in these facilities.

I wish we had a more open and honest debate about these issues. What bothers me is that I don't think the public at large is really getting good information. We have to make tough choices, but how can people make the choices unless they have some access to the underlying facts?

Dingo said...

I know everyone is in funding trouble. The entire US is in funding trouble. That is not the point I am trying to make. What I want to know is if you are trying to create a "culture of life," how do you cut taxes that fund these programs? Why are we cutting taxes (in a time of war) that causes these funding problems. You cannot claim a culture of life agenda and pull the plug on life lives of poor people. The same people who are calling for this culture of life are the same people that are actually cutting the funding to programs that would create a culture of life.

I have realized that "culture of life" is just another right wing buzz word like "judicial activism". It has no real meaning.

MaxedOutMama said...

For some it definitely is. Others are serious. I think you are over-simplifying matters.

The point I am trying to make is here in GA we are looking at cutting other programs to fund our medical programs. Raising taxes we have done. We are now at the point where the average family in large areas of the state gets state medical coverage for their children. If we raise taxes much higher we are going to be forced to pay for families above the average income level, because what we are taking from them in taxes will have to be given back somehow or kids will not be born or die preventable deaths.

With the best will in the world, we're not looking at very good options. Raise the income tax? We're not in a good position there - we border FL which has none vs our 6%. Plus, FL has been running sales tax free periods and sucking up GA purchases. Raise the sales tax? It's profoundly regressive and at 6 or 7 percent it is enough of a burden on our elderly. It's long been a goal to cut the most regressive portions of it.

What we will probably do is cut funding for the HOPE scholarship program to middle class families, which is also not a popular step and may undercut our ability to draw new business investment. But we want to protect funding for the programs for older displaced workers (textile, manufacturing & farming) who are a proportion of our population that is under the gun.

Sometimes you get your butt in a crack. In GA, we have run out of all the easy answers and are now looking at very difficult and questionable answers. The problem is not the lack of will and not the lack of consensus, but what seems to be a lack of good options. We are now picking between bad options, trying to find strategies that will produce more good than harm.

There are times when the Bible belt atmosphere of GA irritates me, but one thing I have to concede - there is strong support for programs to help the low-income families and people. There is also strong support for pro-growth programs that will help replace the failing commodity and manufacturing industries.

I would bet that Missouri is in much the same position. NAFTA has inflicted tremendous economic harm on a lot of these states. The challenge is to replace the old industries with the new.

Now what would really help us in GA would be if Congress would pass an act to allow trade groups to provide insurance on a federally-regulated business like large companies can. That would help all the small businesses with medical insurance costs which are out of control, so they could afford to extend insurance to the children of their employees and the state would be able to spread its funds further.

Otherwise, I think within four years we are going to have to go back to a Depression-era model of public health clinics.

GA politics doesn't really fit the agenda of either national party. It's a populist breed of its own. But by whatever name it calls itself, there is a lot of consensus on priorities. The most we can really come up with to fight about is fiefdoms and flags.

Anonymous said...

Governor Blunt should be known as Backstabbing Blunt.During his race for governor Matt Blunt promised that he would not make Medicaid cuts.The poor,the needy,the disabled,and the evangelical christians helped to vote Blunt into office,believing that he was an honorable man,and a man of his word.The first thing that Blunt does is propose medicaid cuts.He turned right around and stabbed the people in the back that voted him into office.
There is no real need to cut 100,000 people off of medicaid,most of whom need the insurance the most.Instead there could be a case by case investigation to get rid of Medicaid fraud and abuse.
Years ago money from the Missouri Lottery and from the casinos were ear marked for education.Where is that money going if it is not being used for education?If the money ear marked for education went toward education Blunt would not have to cut Medicaid.There are also other ways that could also save medicaid.The state does not have to use it's private jet to travel to what could be said to be a vacation.Blunt,like past governors,does not have to throw expensive dinners and parties for lobbiest and big business.Also government is too big.It is rediculous when there are secretaries ,for secretaries,for secretaries.
There are many ways to save money so that medicaid does not have to be cut,but Blunt is too lazy, and too quick to say,lets just cut Medicaid.Backstabbing Blunt will never serve a second term.

rosebud said...

I live in Jefferson City, MO and am one of the disabled who will lose medicaid on July 1. I was at the House or Representatives Session to voice my opinion on the proposed cuts. I was told that my 8 year old son and I receive too much money each month to qualify for medicaid under the new guidelines. What they don't take into consideration is the fact that even though we receive $1260.00 per month (SSDI), our medications will cost $1162.00 per month to buy. I have Lupus and my son has Epilepsy and Tourette's Syndrome. Neither one of us can just not take our medicines. We will probably end up living in the homeless shelterso we can afford our medicines. Matt Blunt is a heartless, cruel man.

Dingo said...

Rosebud,

I am sorry to hear your situation. As one of the Missouri legislators said, she gets more in gas reimbursements per month then you are allowed to make in order to qualify for medicaid.

Your story also reminds me that even though, we talk about 100,000 people being cut from this, or 300,000 being cut from that. Each one of those 100,000 is an individual with they own story. Thanks for sharing I we will all wish for the best for you.