There’s no one that pisses off the right in this country as much as Paul Krugman, and there’s nothing that pisses off the right as much as welfare for the poor. So when Krugman wrote recently in the NY Times supporting a program that is welfare for the poor, and describing how Romney/Ryan would decimate it, well you can expect an explosion from the GRWC. Yes the topic of today’s right-eous indignation is Medicaid.
The place to go to see that explosion is the comments section of John Goodman’s blog. That’s the halcyon world where the poor are oppressed by government programs and would much rather be set free to swim in the happy waters of the free market. Goodman proves to himself that studies showing that people without health insurance on average die prematurely must be wrong because they’re not seen in any “credible, peer-reviewed social science journal” — just in biased rubbish like the American Journal of Public Health and reports from the crack-smoking wackos at the Institute of Medicine.
Having read the comments on Goodman’s article I’m very surprised that Heartland’s Peter Ferrera hasn’t gone on welfare to show how it’s now a guaranteed path to unlimited riches (as opposed to say the tough job of taking payola from a convicted felon) and that Goodman himself hasn’t rejected his health insurance and gone naked on the income of the single mom & waitress in Dallas that Uwe teased him about a few years back. After all it would give him so much buying power to impact the market!
Back in the real world, everyone on the left knows that Medicaid is a dog-meat last ditch program. But over the past seven decades the intense efforts of assorted whack-jobs, lie-factories and mean spirited Republicans–and many right wing DINOs– mean that there is no national comprehensive health plan. Medicaid is all the poor have, and all that keeps granny in the nursing home rather than living in the front room or on the street. It’s the politics of the right that prevented folding it into Medicare in 1965 and into a comprehensive plan in 1994, and made it impossible to do anything other than build on Medicaid in 2010. That’s why Daschle championed it as the least bad route to quasi-universal insurance.
To really suggest that Ryan/Romney won’t cut Medicaid means that the fools at the AP must have been very confused when they penned this article suggesting that block grants would reduce Medicaid by $800 billion. They must have meant that instead states like Texas, Florida and Mississippi would of course massively increase their Medicaid spending and cover more people because of the “flexibility” block grants would give them. Of course those states have been falling over each other to take the Federal dollars now on offer for Medicaid.
Oh and none of the right-wingers mention the facts that for the non-elderly & disabled Medicaid is already 65% run through private health plans (see p13 here)–much closer to that free market nirvana that the right aspire to than Medicare with its 25% rate.
But that’s all fine. Medicaid does relatively well with the pittance it gets, but if the right’s boy Romney wins we’re going to see just how huge the clout of the poor is when they get those Medicaid cards taken away from them and thrown off the rolls. And I’m sure Goodman and his buddies will all be lining up to explain to them how their new reality of being broke, sick and uninsured is so much better!
I’ll wait expectantly (no, not really!) for Obama et al to pick up this thread that Clinton left them at the Convention in the next week…
Matthew is the founder of THCB and is guilt-stricken about how rarely he gets to write on it!