Resolution & Rage: Call Your Legislators

Bush sent his new budget proposal (blueprint) to Congress on Feb. 6th, demanding new cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Blueprint in hand, our Senate agreed in March to reduce these programs while funding more tax breaks mostly beneficial to millionaires.

Congress also intends to cut essential programs, like job training, childcare, home health, food assistance, housing, and health care. For example, it will cut health benefits for veterans by nearly $7 billion. Fees veterans pay out of pocket for healthcare will triple.  

Outlay for war will be much greater. Bush calls for $50 billion more for the occupation of Iraq. We know Bush will come back for many more billions for Iraq before year-end, like he has each year...

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Medicaid in the states - some good(ish) news

The Medicaid civil war in MA was settled (in principle) last Friday (much info at BlueMassGroup and Health Care for All (multiple pieces at each) - but other states are still grappling with the mandates in the Deficit Reduction Act. (Earlier piece by SouthernDem.)

The MA plan provisionally agreed within the lege includes a sort of alternative tax for employers who don't provide health insurance of $285 a year per uncovered employee. Chickenfeed, but sets a precedent, seems to be the verdict.

Meanwhile, there's an interesting idea from the WV lege for nursing home residents to use the Medicaid money being spent on them for care in their homes instead.

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Despite the polls, Bush corporate welfare is on track

The NYT happily provides a catalogue of the Bush Corporate Welfare Plan - past, present and future.

The culture stuff may make the most waves, and give his base the most ya-yas. But corporate welfare is the Bush regime's engine-room; and, with his bench of Congressional Dem enablers usually ready to bridge the gap when he's a few votes short, there's no sign of it seizing up.

So far, Bad Poll Bush is crying all the way to the bank.

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The Gutting of Medicaid

A program essential to the health, even the survival of many of our most vulnerable citizens has been targeted for massive cuts by the Bush administration and the Republicans in congress. The poor, the elderly and disabled children will be particularly affected by these cuts and in many states are in a more tenuous situation than ever before. These groups may fare a bit better in North Carolina than in other states, but the possibility of a negative impact looms in the future.

The President's Budget Reconciliation Bill sparked anger when it was first introduced in early 2005. Health care professionals immediately saw the danger signs for the segments of our population who can least afford health care.

Mark Johnson, a family physician in Seattle, wrote a guest column for the Seattle Post Intelligencer in March of 2005. He had this to say:

We have a health care crisis in this country, and something needs to be done about it. Taking people's health care away is not the answer. Thousands of organizations around the nation, including hospital associations, nursing homes, mental health institutions and the Washington Association of Family Physicians, have implored the president and the Senate to reject these cuts. All those organizations recognize that Medicaid offers the only viable, cost-effective solution for millions of families.

Balancing the budget on the backs of our nation's most vulnerable while giving tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans is unconscionable. I urge Washington Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray to take leadership in the Senate to oppose these shortsighted and unethical cuts.

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The End of Medicaid is Just Beginning

Originally Posted at BlueNC, crossposted elsewhere
When the Republican led Senate and House passed the Budget Reconciliation Act of 2005, they did so without the support of one Democrat, and with a number of Republican defections.  Why?  The reason is simple, the budget gives more tax cuts to the ultra-wealthy while at the same time seriously putting in peril the very lives of millions of Americans.  The Budget Reconciliation Act should go down in history as the Republican End of Medicaid Act.  Hopefully, this destruction of Medicaid will play a major role in the 06 elections, but I'm not sure it will.  Once again, the Republicans have been crafty.  They have changed the rules on Medicaid in a way that will do serious harm to disabled children, the blind, the elderly, and the less fortunate in our society - but they have done so in a way that will not hurt them until AFTER the midterm election.  

To help clarify this situation and what will be happening down the road, we at BlueNC have asked State Rep. Verla Insko to provide us some facts on the new Medicaid cuts and regulations.  Rep. Insko has just filed to run for her sixth term in the 56th NC House district, representing most of Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and one Orange County Precinct.  Rep. Insko is eminently qualified to answer questions on potential Medicaid cuts, as she Vice-Chairs the Appropriations Committee; Chairs the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse; is a member of the Health, Environment and Natural Resources Committee; and, serves on the Joint Legislative Oversight Committees on Education and Health, where she Chairs the Access Subcommittee of the House Select Committee on Health Care.

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