Thursday, March 17, 2005

Sense and Sensibility - Senate Kills Medicaid Cuts

I'm starting to see a mini-trend emerge. There are actually a handful of Republican senators who will occasionally depart from the party line to do the right thing. This afternoon, with the help of an independent and 5 aisle-jumping GOP senators, an amendment to the Bush budget bill designed to gut Medicaid failed.

I know, its a small victory, and the GOP isn't done with it yet. What the vote did was send up a flare that there are at least a few GOP senators willing to listen to their conscience every now and then.

No one argues that both Medicaid and Medicare need serious overhaul. And it's not so much because that the federal government has it's neck in a noose; it's the state governments that are hurting terribly for their half of the costs. However, eliminating one or both programs is not the answer.

In an ideal world, creating a sane universal healthcare program would solve so many problems with the stroke of one broad brush. Think about it. Not only could most Medicare and Medicaid issues be dealt with, but so could the cause of more than 50% of all personal bankruptcies. True healthcare reform would even remove some of the pressure for Social Security reform, or perhaps at least point major reforms in another direction.

A single card. A single payor. 100% of Americans covered. Employers no longer holding the power of life or death over employees.

It seems so rational.