March 30, 2010

Medicaid - The "Untouchable"

The state of New York is facing a $9 billion shortfall as the April 1st budget deadline looms. Nearly 15,000 teachers are likely to lose their jobs. Everyone and their mothers are touting "their" budget plan as the best way to address the state's financial woes.

But once again, no one in the state leadership, that would be the Democratic-led Senate, the Democratic-led Assembly and the Democratic governor, are willing to touch the one budget line that is crushing the taxpayers of this state: Medicaid.

New York State offers the most comprehensive Medicaid program in the nation. We spend more than the next two states, Florida and California, combined. Everything is covered. Got a limp dick? Medicaid will provide you Viagra. Need a cab ride to your doctors two hours away? Medicaid will pay the bill - excuse me - taxpayers will pay the bill. There's a generic version of the drug you're taking? No worries, the state allows you to get the most expensive prescription on the market.

Despite the fact that New York spends far more on Medicaid ($2,283) per capita than any other state and twice the national average ($1,026), statistics show patients still aren’t getting the care they deserve. New York ranks first in cost, but 30th in health care quality, 21st in the percentage of uninsured adults, and 39th in avoidable hospital use.

But no one is the state's leadership will dare touch it. Why? Because their constituency, which is heavily centered in and around New York City, will not tolerate it. In addition, the health care unions will not allow it. Any Democratic legislator who would even think about bringing legislation that would bring about substantive reforms to Medicaid will find himself or herself on the outs with the unions and Assembly Leader Sheldon Silver so fast he or she wouldn't know what hit 'em.

Even if no changes were made to the program itself, simply implementing a six or 12 month residency requirement would save the state billions. As it stand now, any person who moves into the state can be on Medicaid, or welfare, within 24 hours. 24 HOURS! That's why the Dems from NYC won't change it. Their constituents can bring all of their friends and families to New York and have them on the public's dime in a day. We've all heard the stories of government officials from Louisiana shipping busloads of residents to New York after Katrina, because they could not handle subsidizing them through the disaster. They just shipped 'em off to good ol' New York, who welcomed them with open wallets.

Of course, despite the massive financial crisis the state of New York is facing, Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte isn't letting up on her complete disdain for the taxpayers. Nope, she's going to right on spending right up until the day the state goes bankrupt.

In her latest act of complete disregard for the taxpayers, DelMonte is proposing a bill that would increase the Medicaid reimbursement rates for hospitals across the state, including the always money-losing Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.

Obviously, she, along with her Democratic brethren, don't give a damn about the financial burden that is continuously placed upon the taxpayers in this state. Their only solution is to continue to reach into the nearly-bare pockets of you and I, hoping that we're too stupid to do anything about it on election day. Are they right?

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