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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

 
Letting His White Slip Show

by digby

I've had a number of readers tell me that I'm wrong, wrong, wrong to worry that the Medicaid expansion funding might be vulnerable to future budget cuts, particularly my argument that the right will demonize it as "welfare" with all that that implies. Those days I'm told, are over.

Lindsay Graham:

If you don't live in Nebraska, here's what's coming your way. Your state is gonna be required to cover more people under Medicaid because the eligibility, I think, goes up to 133% above poverty, which is an increase over the current system. So throughout the nation, there are gonna be thousands of more people enrolled in Medicaid. And every state except one is gonna have to come up with matching money. I have 12 percent unemployment in South Carolina. My state is on its knees. I have 31 percent African American population in South Carolina.


The key to fixing that little problem, of course, is to not have a separate health care system for the poor, but rather have everyone with an equal stake in the same system. It's what makes the safety net stable over time.

In our bigoted country we have this sad history of government social welfare services being stigmatized, largely because there weren't any private social welfare services with any money or desire to help African Americans. It would be nice to think that's all gone away, but Huckleberry shows that in the heart of Dixie at least it's still so much a part of the social fabric that he just blurts it out without even knowing what he's saying.

If there's one thing we are going to be fighting for for a long time, it's to keep the coverage for the poor that's in this health care reform. And if history is any guide, it's not going to be easy.


Update: I almost wonder if Ben nelson didn't insist on his Medicaid payment sharing exemption with the knowledge that it was going to bring attention to this issue and set the stage for legal action. I say "almost" because I don't think Nelson is that clever. It's far more likely he just wanted to be able to tell his fellow Nebraskans that he made sure they weren't going to have to pick up the tab for the freeloading you-know-whats.

Update II: Maybe more clever than I thought. Here's Nelson yesterday:

As a governor — and my colleague is a former governor — we fought against federal unfunded mandates. And as a senator back here, I’ve also fought against unfunded and underfunded federal mandates. And this was in fact exactly that. While we weren’t able to get in this legislation an actual opt-out or opt-in for a state-based decision, what we did get was at least a line, if you will, so that in the future other states are going to be able to come forward and say, hey, either the federal government pays for that into the future or the state will have the opportunity to decide not to continue that so that we don’t have an unfunded federal mandate.



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