While our attention is once again diverted, there are shenanigans behind the curtains. The wannabe dictator/president is working hard on handing the corporations and the donor class all they want while he still has the power.
Certainly not saying that the government shutdown and the use of government employees as hostages isn’t important – next to having a foreign agent as president the taking of federal employees to be used as hostages to blackmail congress into building a wall on the Mexican border have to rank as stories #1 and #2 for this century so far.
But while our eyes are looking in that direction, the current president is working on fulfilling what has been a Republican wet dream for decades: dismantling government involvement in health care. While they have so far failed in shutting down the ACA it isn’t for lack of trying.
While they take a little break on killing the ACA, our Dear Leader and his henchmen are working on a plan to radically change Medicaid through executive action. The current approach is to turn Medicaid from an open-ended program to something such as a block-grant to the states program.
“Aware of the political sensitivity, the administration has been deliberating and refining the plan for weeks, hoping to advance an idea that Republicans since the Reagan era have unsuccessfully championed in Congress against stiff opposition from Democrats and patient advocates. During the Obamacare repeal debate in 2017, Republican proposals to cap and shrink federal Medicaid spending helped galvanize public opposition, with projections showing millions would be forced off coverage.”
“The administration’s plan remains a work in progress, and sources said the scope is still unclear. It’s not yet known whether CMS would encourage states to seek strict block grants or softer spending caps, or if new limits could apply to all Medicaid populations — including nursing home patients — or just a smaller subset like working-age adults.”
“Also complicating the administration’s push: the newfound popularity of Medicaid, which has grown to cover about one in five Americans. Voters in three GOP-led states in November approved ballot measures to expand Medicaid, which has been adopted by about two-thirds of states. Newly elected Democratic governors in Kansas and Wisconsin are pushing their Republican-led legislatures to expand Medicaid this year.”
“CMS is hoping to make an announcement early this year, but it could be further delayed by legal review, which has already been slowed by the prolonged government shutdown.”
Of course Iowa has already drastically changed Medicaid in this state by privatizing the administration which has in turn rationed care. Block grant type of funding would only make that rationing worse.
Should some form of block grant funding come to pass, expect the budget for this item to become a real political football as Republicans will work hard to maintain if not cut funding.
Republicans have a strategy of killing programs they don’t like by a thousands cuts. Block grant funding would go along with privatized administration and work requirements as another of the thousand cuts that Republicans inflict on programs for the people.
As you could expect, this short screed will end with yet another plea for universal health care. We need to remove the multitude of silos that our medical care has been shoved into so they can be attacked and diminished without rousing the whole population in opposition. Universal health care, Medicare For All or whatever you call it would allow any citizen to get the health care needed when they need it and would save vast snouts of money in the process.
Medicare For All – immediately or sooner if possible.