It seems that with every day goes by, there’s someone from either side of the isle who finds something they thinks su-diddly-ucks aboot Obamacare (you can call it Max Baucus’s health-care bill, but let’s be serious). Last week it was the revelation that you could face jail time if you chose not to buy health insurance. Today, the anger comes courtesy our fifty Governors and Medicaid.
I’ll be honest; I’m not entirely sure how Medicaid works. I know it’s a program to provide insurance to the poor, and that there are millions or current citizen who are eligible, yet not enrolled for some reason. I also know that the states currently have a big say in who is eligible for it…something they wouldn’t after ObamaCare candidates Medicaid standards and tells the states they have to figure out how to pay for it.
This is what you call one of them unfunded mandates. Washington tells the states they have to do something, and then tells the states they have to figure out how to pay for it themselves. That way Dear Leader can stay true to his words that he hasn’t raised taxes, because he forces the states to do it. As you can imagine, much like with everything associated with ObamaCare, the numbers don’t really hold up. So sayeth the Wall Street Journal…
About 59 million people are on Medicaid today—which means that a decade from now about a quarter of the total population would be on a program originally sold as help for low-income women, children and the disabled. State budgets would explode—by $37 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office—because they would no longer be allowed to set eligibility in line with their own decisions about taxes and spending. This is the mother—and father and crazy uncle—of unfunded mandates.
This burden would arrive on the heels of an unprecedented state fiscal crisis. As of this month, some 48 states had shortfalls in their 2010 budgets totaling $168 billion—or 24% of total state budgets. The left-wing Center for Budget and Policy Priorities expects total state deficits in 2011 to rise to $180 billion. And this is counting the $87 billion Medicaid bailout in this year’s stimulus bill.
While falling revenues are in part to blame, Medicaid is a main culprit, even before caseloads began to surge as joblessness rose. The National Association of State Budget Officers notes that Medicaid spending is on average the second largest component in state budgets at 20.7%—exceeded only slightly by K-12 education (20.9%) and blowing out state universities (10.3%), transportation (8.1%) and prisons (3.4%). In some states it is far higher—39% in Ohio, 27% in Massachusetts, 25% in Michigan, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania. Forcing states to spend more will crowd out other priorities or result in a wave of tax increases, or both, even as Congress also makes major tax hikes inevitable at the national level.
The Governors aren’t having it…
The National Governors Association is furious about Mr. Baucus’s Medicaid expansion, and rightly so, given that governors and their legislatures will get stuck with the bill while losing the leeway to manage or reform their budget-busters. NGA President Jim Douglas of Vermont recently said at the National Press Club that the Baucus plan poses a “tremendous financial liability” and doesn’t “respect that no one size fits all at the state level.”
Now, this isn’t closed minded, intolerant southern governor Jim Douglas. This is Jim Douglas from the open minded and tolerant state of Vermont, home to Ben & Jerry’s. And while certain parts of ObamaCare piss off liberals, and other parts piss off conservative, we’ve managed to find a part of it that pisses off a bi-partisan coalition of governors, Republican and Democrat alike, who have one simple question, “are you people fucking nuts?”
P.S. House Republicans still have the thirty-two different alternative health care reform bills that President Obama lies that we don’t.