Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Of the Needy, by the Seedy, for the Greedy

There is nothing that points up the tragedy that is infecting our Country more than the current ballet (cancel that, substitute "slam dance") in our Capitol over "SS" (here you can substitute whatever you want for SS: Social Security, Smoke Screen, Same ole S---, whatever.) I prefer Smoke Screen. Josh Marshall has taken the lead online in reporting the Social Security fiasco.

While the AARP has come under laughably vile attack for resisting Georgie Boy's illogical rhetoric on privatizing Social Security, there is actually a much more vulnerable group that is under attack from the flank. These smelly vultures are going right after the throat of our most innocent population, children. Let me see if I can demonstrate that for you.

George Bush wants to "save" $60 Billion by cutting Medicaid. Get this straight, he wants to cut money from a program that is designed to help the old, the disabled and, most of all, children.

WASHINGTON Feb 28, 2005 President Bush promised on Monday to work with governors to restrain soaring Medicaid costs and revamp the health care program for the poor, but he also indicated he would keep trying to eliminate some federal aid. (emphasis added)

At the risk of boring you, let me briefly review some facts about Medicaid in the US and Maryland:

Medicaid is a very large program. I now quote from and Analysis from the Maryland Budget and Tax Policy Institute:
Medicaid is a safety net program that provides health care services for certain low-income individuals. Approximately one in ten Marylanders receive their health care through this program.

Federal law requires that state Medicaid programs serve poor children (and parents if they qualify), pregnant women, and low income individuals who are aged, blind, or have a severe disability. More than 80 percent of the state's Medicaid spending provides health care for these groups.

The program also provides for a lot of nursing home care.

I know you hate statistics, but you have to go through these to see the perfidy.

FY2000 USA
Total Population- 281,421,906
Total Medicaid enrollment- 44,297,290
% Total Population- 15.7%
Enrollees through age 20- 24,187,576
% Population that age- 30.7%

Expenditures- $168,307,000,000

% Births paid for by Medicaid- 37.4%

Through age 5- 9,215,600
% Population that age- 40.3%

Infants <=1- 1,803,047
% Population that age- 47.5%

Enrollees >20- 20,109,714
Population >20- 202,635,013
% Population >20- 9.9%
Enrollees through age 20- 24,187,576
% Total Medicaid enrollment- 54.6%
% Total Expenditures- 22.9%
Per Enrollee Payment- $1,590

Enrollees >20- 45.2%
% Total Expenditures- 73.2%
Per Enrollee Payment- $6,153

Enrollees >64- 11.2%
% Total Expenditures- 29.6%
Per Enrollee Payment- $10,027

1. 16% of the population receives Medicaid. That's a disgrace. We are the richest Nation in the world and one out of every 6 of us is on the dole! Shame. And a lot of this is for the elderly; i.e. nursing home care. Not only does Bush want old people to starve by trashing Social Security, he wants to make them homeless.

But, wait a minute, maybe we are moving towards national insurance for the young and the old. I'd be for that. It works in Canada in spite of what your rich insurance company says.

2. Medicaid is clearly not a single program. There are two major chunks: children and not-children. Thus, while enrollees < 20 y.o. account for 54.6% of the total, they only account for 22.9% of the expenditures or ~$1,600 on average per year.

Compare this to the $10,027 for the over 64 y.o. enrollees that only account for 11.2% of all Medicaid receipients. The taxpayer is paying far more for nursing homes than it is for childhood healthcare. Lots more.

3. One out of three births are covered by Medicaid. That means that our young population is poor. Not a good omen.

4. 47% of children under the age of 1 y.o. are covered by Medicaid. Tell them Bush wants to cut them off from medical care. Go ahead, I dare you.

We have a President who doesn't blink at spending $200 Billion on a War That Has No End yet can't raise enough to provide health care for children.

I can guarantee that I am not happy about this. Why? Because implementing draconian cuts in Medicaid will be my responsibility. I will have to refuse to care for children who are sick because they can't pay.

Oh, my God, doctor. How can you do that?

Well, do you go into a grocery store and pick up a can of beanie weenies and not pay? What am I going to use to pay the rent (always going up), electricity (always going up like a rocket), phone, heat, salaries, vaccines, etc. etc. and etc. as Yul Brynner once said.

But, as I said, these are going to be "tough decisions" made in the legislature of the States and Congress and implemented on the backs of poor children. We're supposed to be impressed with governors like Ehrlich who make "tough decisions."

Finally, Medicaid has an overhead of 4%. United HealthCare has an overhead of 20-25%. Much of this goes to:
William W. McGuire
Chairman and CEO
United Health Group Inc.

In 2002, William W. McGuire raked in $37,888,157 in total compensation including stock option grants from United Health Group Inc..

And William W. McGuire has another $501,556,217 in unexercised stock options from previous years.

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