Economy, War Force Damaging Medicaid Cuts and Access to Care for the Working Poor, Op-Ed Says
The Bush administration and Congress should "take a little time away from war planning to consider what the economic downturn" is doing to the working poor, particularly to their access to health insurance through Medicaid, Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne writes in an opinion piece. Dionne cites a Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured report released last week that found that 41 states have reduced coverage for their Medicaid programs and that three "have simply started kicking people out" of the program. The working poor demographic seems to "loom larger in politicians' rhetoric than in their budget calculations," Dionne writes. The financial problems in state budgets are "especially alarming" because states will have to "take health coverage away from more and more children" who receive care through the CHIP program as health costs continue to rise, Dionne says. With states determining eligibility for the program, they are left to "do the worst of the dirty work in cutting off help for those who need it." Dionne continues that compared with increases in military spending and White House-supported tax cuts for higher-income people, helping the working poor retain health coverage "would not cost a lot of money." Dionne concludes, "What you have to understand is that where tax cuts for the wealthy are concerned, war is peace. When it comes to spending on health care ... peace is war. This is Orwellian budgeting, and its victims are the poor, especially poor kids" (Dionne, Washington Post, 9/24).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.