–Arizona tries to gut Medicaid, punish the poor. Who is the bad guy?

The debt hawks are to economics as the creationists are to biology. Those, who do not understand monetary sovereignty, do not understand economics. Cutting the federal deficit is the most ignorant and damaging step the federal government could take. It ranks ahead of the Hawley-Smoot Tariff.

Arizona, seemingly in the front lines in the war against poverty striken, now wishes to increase the eligibility requirements for Medicaid. Hundreds of thousands of desperately sick, poor people would be refused health care. So who is the bad guy, here? Not Arizona, in my opinion.

Here are excerpts from a Washington Post article:

By N.C. Aizenman, Washington Post Staff Writer, Sunday, January 23, 2011; 10:58 PM

Republican efforts to repeal or limit the reach of the new health-care law took a new direction last week when Arizona lawmakers approved a novel and controversial attempt to cut Medicaid for 280,000 of the state’s poor.

The bill, requested and signed by Gov. Jan Brewer (R), empowers her to make a formal request, most likely this week, for a federal waiver to avoid complying with provisions of the law that prohibit states from tightening their eligibility requirements for Medicaid.

Twenty-nine Republican governors, including Brewer, have signed a letter calling on President Obama and congressional leaders to remove the provision from the law.

But Arizona is the first state to, in effect, play chicken with the Obama administration by directly requesting a reprieve and daring Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to refuse.

Arizona’s move reflects two pressing realities: Many states face large budget shortfalls because of continuing economic difficulties, and Republican governors point to Medicaid cuts as one of the most logical ways to balance those budgets.

Advocates for Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor and disabled that is jointly funded by states and the federal government, say the Republican argument amounts to political posturing at best and heartless, shortsighted policy at worst. Most of the men and women Arizona wants to cut from Medicaid have to earn less than $10,830 per year to qualify for the program.

“If you’re a family and you hit tough times such that you can only afford to feed two out of your three children, you don’t tell your third child, ‘Sorry, Johnny, you’re not going to eat.’ You go out and find a way to get more food,” said Arizona state Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Phoenix), who has made health care a focus.

Similarly, Sinema said, Brewer should attempt to restore the substantial cuts Arizona has already made to its Medicaid coverage in recent years, not seek new ones.

“This is not a political ploy,” Lazare said. “This is our plan. We don’t see a whole lot of other options.” The economic downturn has been particularly devastating to Arizona, Lazare noted, depleting tax revenues even as it led to newly poor residents who swelled the state’s Medicaid rolls by 46 percent over the past four years.

State lawmakers have already responded with some of the deepest Medicaid cuts of any state in recent years – slashing payment rates to doctors and other providers by 10 percent, freezing enrollment in the state’s supplemental health insurance program for children, and ceasing to pay for Medicaid benefits including certain kinds of organ transplants.

When that last high-profile policy took effect in October, nearly 100 indigent patients who were on the waiting list for a transplant were told that the state would no longer cover the procedure.

Since then, one of those patients has died. Another was forced to give up the liver offered to him by a dying family friend. A third man was able to get funding for a bone marrow transplant from an anonymous donor but died of complications from his cancer before the operation could take place.

The bad guy is the debt hawks, the Tea Party, the politicians who pander to them, and the selfish people who already have health insurance, and so are “against big government,” for reasons they don’t understand.

While the U.S. government is Monetarily Sovereign, Arizona is monetarily non-sovereign. It is a feature of non-sovereign governments that they cannot survive long term on tax money, alone. With the federal government’s taxes and inflation draining money out of the states, massive and ongoing federal infusions are needed by all states. Being Monetarily Sovereign, the federal government easily could and should provide these infusions.

Instead, Ron Paul (for example) and his government cronies (all of whom are given the best health insurance money can buy) repeatedly vote against federal spending (except for the aforementioned health insurance for politicians).

Never mind the poor. Never mind the sick children. Never mind the unfortunate, who do not have the means to provide even for minimal health care. Let them suffer. Let them die. We just don’t like government spending, because . . . well . . . just because at some unknown time in the future it might cause something bad, though there is no evidence of what. And anyway, I have insurance.

The English have an expression for that sort of selfish heartlessness, “I’m all right, Jack,” meaning “I’m taken care of, so the hell with you.” That is our Congress and our President. “They’re all right, Jack.” Hey, no problem if you have no conscience.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

No nation can tax itself into prosperity.

3 thoughts on “–Arizona tries to gut Medicaid, punish the poor. Who is the bad guy?

  1. Forty years ago, we were told “we must destroy the village in order to save it.” Now, I guess, we’re destroying the country in order to save it.


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