Tuesday, December 28, 2004

"Our House is on Fire Too."

You've got to love that Bush compassion. You see, he's finally realized we have a huge federal deficit. Huge. So huge that in efforts to keep his promise to reduce it by 50%, Bush is going after all those big ticket items like charities and the poor. Tax cuts for the affluent and super rich? Naa. That's off the table.

So it would seem that Medicaid is costing the government a good deal. Heavens, don't those state governors know there's a budget deficit to solve? Guess not:
BOSTON, Dec. 25 - Fearful that President Bush plans to shift more Medicaid costs to the states, the nation's governors are mounting a bipartisan lobbying effort to stave off new federal limits on the program.

[...]

Showing rare bipartisan unity, governors of both parties said in interviews this week that they would press hard in the coming months to preserve or even increase their current Medicaid allotments.

"I certainly understand the need to balance the federal budget," said Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, a Republican and the vice chairman of the governors association. "But people need to remember that to balance the federal budget off the backs of the poorest people in the country is simply unacceptable. You don't pull feeding tubes from people. You don't pull the wheelchair out from under the child with muscular dystrophy."
Of course we shouldn't pull out those wheel chairs or feeding tubes sillies. Let's just stop states from effectively requesting more funds for their Medicaid budgets. That's completely different from denying healthcare to the poor. Or not:
Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts is among several governors battling the Bush administration's efforts to eliminate a practice some states use to get more federal Medicaid money. The federal government says these states' practice of transferring money to county governments or local hospitals is a way to get more federal Medicaid money by making it appear that they are spending more on Medicaid than they are.

In Massachusetts, the Bush administration says $580 million in federal Medicaid money obtained using such a practice was an improper grant. Mr. Romney disagrees.

"This was a practice approved by the federal government, and it's one of the ways that we provide health care to the poor and needy," said Eric Fehrnstrom, Mr. Romney's press secretary. "Discussions are going on now between us and the federal government so that we can find a way to continue with this practice."
So it was a practice approved by the federal government. Don't they know 9-11 changed everything! There's a HUGE budget deficit going on. HUGE! To do a Rumsfeld: Rules change. Do we wish it was different. Sure. Do we wish we didn't have a budget deficit. Sure we do. But that's not the case now. There's a huge budget deficit! More from the governors:
Governor Huckabee of Arkansas, where nearly a quarter of the population is on Medicaid, said the governors' objective in the coming months would be to ask the federal government to "first do no harm."

He said the soaring federal budget deficit had made federal officials realize "their house is on fire, and they're probably so consumed with the flames around them that they're unaware as they look to us for water that our tanks are empty.

"Folks, our house is on fire too," Mr. Huckabee added, "and asking us to put out your fire is probably not the solution."
A quarter of Arkansas is on Medicaid? Well now, we can stop looking for where that budget deficit came from now, can't we. I'm sure it couldn't be those job creating affluent people who got huge tax cuts. Naa. Must be the poor in Arkansas.