Friday, April 22, 2011

Idaho governor kills Medicaid, throws state into financial ruin

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Gov. Butch Otter (R-ID)
Gov. Butch Otter (R-ID)

I’m no expert, but if I’m reading this right, then Idahoans are about to face some seriously grim times, and all thanks to their dumbass Republican governor and his anti-Obama zeal: He’s just signed an executive order stating that the state will not comply with the new healthcare reform laws, which effectively ends Medicaid in the state, among other disasters. From ThinkProgress [links removed]:

Medicaid is an entirely voluntary program in which the federal government provides generous grants to the states to administer a health program for their low-income residents. Yet Otter’s executive order forbids state agencies from implementing “any provisions” of the ACA, and it provides that “[n]o executive branch department, agency, institution or employee of the State shall accept or expend federal funds to implement the provisions of the []ACA.”

The reason why this is problematic is because, starting in 2014, the ACA requires states participating in the Medicaid program to offer health coverage to all persons under the age of 65 who earn up to 133 percent of the poverty rate. In return for expanding Medicaid, the federal government will provide each state with the lion’s share of the funds required to do so.

Otter’s order forbids his state from complying with these new requirements to remain in the Medicaid program, and it also forbids Idaho from taking the federal funds that will allow it to pay for expanding Medicaid.

And it gets even better:

To be fair, Otter’s order also provides an onerous process allowing Idaho’s Medicaid program to seek a waiver from the prohibition on implementing the ACA. If such a waiver is not granted, it will completely blow up Idaho’s state budget. Presently, Idaho receives over $1 billion in federal grants to administer its Medicaid program — an amount that equals approximately two-fifths of the state’s overall budget. If the state gave up this money, it would have to chose between eliminating health coverage for the 223,198 Idahoans who currently depend on Medicaid or implementing similarly draconian cuts such as slashing its public schools budget by 85 percent.

In other words, in his zeal to strike a political blow again President Obama’s most important accomplishment, Otter has endangered the health of over more than 200,000 Idahoans and forced financial ruin upon his state.

I invite y’all to make your own cracks about the heartless zealotry that is the modern Republican Party. I’m afraid I’m as empty of new insults as the Idaho state coffers will be of funds before too long. Though, you can expect to see a boom in the funeral home business any day now.

This is Republican America, folks. But then, you should know that; a majority of you voted for it.

(via @todayspolitics)