Category Archives: health care reform

Americans Divided Over Ryan vs. Obama Deficit Plans

Gallup is out with a new poll demonstrating what most of us already know: The GOP is incapable of unifying and communicating on Paul Ryan’s health care proposal.  This is all you need to know:

U.S. adults are evenly split in their reactions to the major deficit-reduction plans being debated in Washington. Forty-four percent prefer the Democratic plan proposed by President Barack Obama, while 43% say Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan is better.

Until we get better explaining to the people, this will continue to be the norm, and we will lose people, then we’ll lose elections.

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Filed under congressman paul ryan, gallup, health care reform

TX Rep Kolkhorst Moves HB5 Out of Public Health Committee

by Pondering Penguin, this column originally appeared here.

Texas State Rep Lois Kolkhorst is chairwoman of the Public Health Committee. As the Chair of the House Committee on Public Health, she helps manage the state’s multi-billion dollar health care system and works to set priorities for the Health and Human Services Commission, which oversees thousands of state employees at five state agencies.

Rep Kolkhorst sponsored HB5 – Relating to the Interstate Health Care Compact and it has been voted out of committee on a vote of 5-0. By coming together with other states, Texas can manage the state’s Medicaid mandates as the costs rise in the coming years.

According to Texas Public Policy Foundation, the coming budget obligations for Medicaid in Texas will be staggering.

As legislators are well aware, Article II has consumed an increasingly larger percentage of the state’s budget, with Medicaid demanding the lion’s share. It is also the least flexible due to the restraints placed on Medicaid by the federal government. Recent changes in federal law with the passage of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA) removed most of the remaining options.

Texas general revenue Medicaid spending, after adjustments for inflation and population, will increase 866 percent between 2009 and 2040. Meaningful opportunities to stem the growth of health care spending are hard to come by because the Legislature has been hamstrung by certain provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and by the acceptance of ARRA funds that restrict lawmakers from making significant changes to Article II, particularly with regard to Medicaid.

Rep Kolkhorst believes that joining in with other states with the Interstate Compact option, it may be the only constitutional shield to be found to fight Obamacare. States can manage their needs better than the federal government. Currently there are 18 states coming together, with the potential for 12 more. After passing in the State Legislature, then the bill would be sent to Congress where it would be voted on. Every state has to work within the same perimeters. Block grants would be distributed.

With the current budget shortfalls facing every state, Interstate Compacts make sense.

I’d like to thank Pondering Penguin for writing this post and allowing me to post it here.  I encourage you to visit Pondering Penguin and engage in the conversation there as well.

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Filed under health care, health care compact, health care reform, lois kolkhorst, transformational change

>WSJ Blurb – Brief Post for Now

>Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal had an interesting little blurb in one of it’s two editorials that I’m going to come back to in an upcoming post, but I figured the blurb was worth posting now.

Medicaid isn’t in trouble because it is badly run, though of course it is. The problem is that it has become so vast and is meant to fill so many political demands that no one can truly control it. Given the Obama Administration’s rigidity, this is not the best reform moment, but unlike his predecessors, Mr. Cuomo seems to recognize that these liabilities can’t be repaired at the margins. The real test will be if he starts to do the politically difficult work of scaling Medicaid down.

My readers will note that their reference to “repaired at the margins” sounds a lot like the “tinkering around the edges” phrase I often use. It all means the same thing. Again, I’ll come back to this editorial in a day or so, but I felt this was worth posting now. The final point of focus, is that Medicaid has simply gotten out of control. As the editorial suggests, this is no time to make marginal changes, to “tinker around the edges”, it’s time for an overhaul. More later.

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Filed under governor cuomo, health care, health care reform, medicaid, paul ryan, transformational change, wall street journal