Thursday, June 16, 2005

Modern Esquire's PSA: NGA's Medicaid Reform Plan

Yesterday, the National Governors Association presented it's bipartisan proposal for Medicaid reform. Despite all the bluster and attention regarding Social Security this year, Social Security will be the longest "solvent" of the big three entitlement programs. Medicare and Medicaid have far more extensive problems with solvency. But since you cannot "solve" the problem by a trillion dollar privitization give-away to Wall Street, the Bush Administration have been absolutely silent on the issue of Medicare/Medicaid reform. To be fair, Congressional Democrats have been largely silent on this issue as well.

(Attn: Strickland and Coleman people) Because it's largely managed by the States, Medicaid has been a particular budgetary fiscal nightmare for state government. But some Governors have gained tremendous national prestige for their plans to reform their states' Medicaid system. Besides being an statewide-elected Southern Democrat, Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen has been mentioned as a possible '08 Presidental Candidate for his handling of the state's TennCare program.

While I don't mean to sound dismissive of the CoinGate scandal (especially since it may be criminal and shows a sorry state of Ohio's current government management), the difference between the self-dealing waste of tax dollars in the BWC pales in comparison to the overcharge Ohio has been paying for prescription drugs in Medicaid. Health care, not Taft's scandals, will be one of the major issues motivating voters in 2006 to one candidate over another (particularly in the primaries.) To present a bold plan on Medicaid could provide a candidate with a double whammy: it shows the candidate is concerned both with health care and fiscal conservatism. That's just my thoughts.

Although only a measly 16-pages, I haven't yet had time to review this report, so I'll post my thoughts on the NGA plan presented by Virginia Governor Mark Warner and Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee to the Senate Finance Committee yesterday later. To read more about their testimony, click here. Also, please feel free to e-mail me or post your comments as well! I think this is the kind of issue we should be debating in the 2006 state elections.

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