|Unholy triad: Mississippi's Haley Barbour, Florida's Rick Scott and|
Wisconsin's Scott Walker
Friday, April 15, 2011
THE UNHOLY TRIAD OF BARBOUR,WALKER, SCOTT: MISSISSIPPI, WISCONSIN, FLORIDA BURNING
Block Grants To Fix Medicare/Medicaid's Wagon?
by Winsip Custer CPW News Service Inc.
The conservative proposal to turn Federal Medicare and Medicaid funding into a block-grant program for the states is supported by Governors Hailey Barbour of Mississippi, Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Rick Scott of Florida, but has millions of American questioning the mental health of Fox News, conservative political leaders and other major media news outlets that are promoting their proposal as a serious solution to the nation's health care challenges. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Barbour/Walker/Scott plan as presented by Rep. Ryan's proposal would cut $180 billion from federal Medicaid spending from 2013 to 2020, others say that this proposal is shortsighted from an economic as well as a health-care perspective. Opponents to the Barbour/Walker/Scott proposal believe a Federal block grant to the states would not only be detrimental to the health of millions of Americans but also cost three million jobs-jeopardizing our economic recovery. Others say giving such a block grant to Mississippi, Wisconsin and Florida would be the equivalent of giving Pretty Boy Floyd, John Dillinger and Al Capone the keys to a bank.
Visiting Fellow Leslie Russell at the Center for American Progress noted in an earlier column:
Medicaid is one of the most effective and efficient forms of economic stimulus. Every dollar spent generates new dollars that pass from one person to another in successive rounds of spending. This multiplier effect means that Medicaid spending provides a greater boost to the state economy than the value of the services purchased directly by the Medicaid program.
Rogers M. Romano of the watchdog group Health Care Options gave a more pointed assessment of the Barbour/Walker/Scott triad.
"I can't imagine a more sinister association of shysters. If it wasn't so serious it would be comical, but this isn't the Three Stooges or the Marx Brothers. There hasn't been anything like this since Hitler, Hirohito and Mussolini. Consider their origins. Barbour from Mississippi. Walker from Wisconsin and Scott from Florida (and Texas before that). Mississippi Burning! Wisconsin is home of slash-and-burn-wing-nut, Senator Joseph McCarthy and Florida? That's the state that hired as its Governor the recipient of the largest Medicare/Medicaid fraud fine in U.S. History. Scott said on Fox News Fox & Friends on Friday that he could fix the problems of Florida's poor with a block grant from the Feds and that if he didn't fix it the people of Florida wouldn't re-elect him. Yea, right, in the state that swings ballot chads like they're strippers' tassels. This is the three little pigs, the three blind mice and Huey, Dewey and Louis rolled into one and they're ducking all the obvious questions. America WAKE UP!"
Using data from Families USA, Russell estimated that every $1 million in federal Medicaid spending results in 17.1 new jobs. Cutting federal spending on Medicaid, then, means cutting jobs. If we apply the same formula to Ryan's Medicaid block grant proposal, it would mean a loss of nearly 3.1 million jobs from 2013 to 2020. Here's the math:
$180,000 million x 17.1 jobs = 3,078,000
But Romano claims that the more serious issue is the loss of America's common sense in entertaining leadership from this unholy alliance. "Who was the head of Medicare and Medicaid when Rick Scott was sticking it to the system? The brother of George W. Bush's White House spokesperson.... Mark McClellan. So if Scott's fraud fine was $1.7 billion and his severance pay was almost $400 million how much money was siphoned off from the taxpayers? And he wants a block grant? Please!" said Romano.