Friday, November 12, 2010

Will Medicaid Be Cut

Laurie Roberts already addresses the issue of medicaid funding quite well.

But here's a reader on Andrew Sullivan's blog who relies on medicaid to take care of her disabled child:

"Cuts to Medicaid will result in more people like my daughter having to live in institutions, at a much higher cost to the public than home-based care. Most elected officials are clueless about this; I know I've had to sit down with my current and prior state delegates to educate them since they had no idea. (This video from Virginia state delegate Patrick Hope discusses the downward spiral that would result from cuts to Medicaid.)"

Here's our fearless leader of the Senate, Russell Pearce, talking about medicaid.

Over the past couple of decades, Arizona has rolled back our local tax rates but they can do so based largely on a couple of decades now of robust population growth and resulting in the growth in housing, construction, and other industries that benefit from that growth. But obviously in the past decade, the growth turned into a massive bubble and we now have a glut of housing. It's doubtful that the old economic models we've counted on are going to be there anymore.

Our state has some serious budget holes to fill in immediately. Do we want to fill those on the backs of the poor (medicaid), they young (education) or do we want to look at both expand and slightly increase our tax rates so that we can sustainably pay for the services our state needs.

In the long term we can look at reform, which should include a more robust rainy day fund that is not just given away. Of course we need to improve our schools and universities and find ways to squeeze out efficiencies.

What I worry about is the Republican party has turned into a caricature of itself.

Read these blog posts on David Frum's blog (a moderate conservative former speech writer for Bush Jr) here, here and here.

Some Reasons given:

Republicans campaign against the educated
"Applebaum reacted to Christine O’Donnell’s advertised boast – 'I didn’t go to Yale' – that Republicans 'need to stop celebrating stupidity'."

Republicans discard science
"Under Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon, Republicans championed science and knowledge. But over the past 30 years, national Republicans have formed an intensifying alliance with religious conservatives more skeptical of science and knowledge. I don’t know whether discarding evolution goes against common sense; but I’m pretty sure it goes against most Ivy League-educated senses."

They talk about evolution here, but I see it alarmingly apparent in the global warming debates.

The Republican dogma no longer makes sense

"Educated people may also be extra-sensitive to policy positions that do not make logical sense. While individual elements of the Republican platform can make sense on their own, the combination of demands to reduce the deficit, plus increase Medicare spending, plus opposing reform meant to save costs, plus uncompromising insistence on tax cuts just does not add up. "

And this is a huge problem for the Republican party going forward:

"However, there is another side to the challenge: one of governance and policy. A party needs a well-educated echelon – call it an elite – to formulate policy to deal with complex challenges. Without the philosophical and academic achievements of the likes of Friedrich von Hayek, Milton Friedman and James Q. Wilson, the Reagan revolution would not have been possible."

Going back to Medicaid quickly. One of the reasons why I left the Republican party is for the reasons given here, the ideology no longer makes sense. You can cut taxes, but at some point you have to stop - we need revenue. We can cut services (the Republican party has been far from consistent both in ideology and in practice in this regard), but do we want to eliminate safety nets?

The Democratic party is far from perfect, but of the two, its by far the more thoughtful and rigorous (many thoughtful people have abandoned both).

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