Balancing the budget on the backs of the poor:
The 2011-12 state budget cuts about $350M from the program. But because federal dollars match state spending 2 to 1, the resulting loss to NC’s Medicaid services is about $1B. Officials expect program rolls, now at 1,500,000, will add another 100,000 by 2013 – a growth rate of about 6.6%. During the same biennium, program funding is slated to shrink by $2 billion, or about 7.8%.
Hat-tip to Laura Leslie. Sometimes there's a fine line between austerity and irresponsibility, and it's not always evident the line's been crossed. But these actions are way beyond that, into the realm of criminal negligence with the intent to do harm. The word "shame" doesn't even cover it.
Alex O’Connor told the committee she has multiple sclerosis, but only about five MS specialists are available to Medicaid patients like her from Raleigh to the coast. She says she only gets to see her doctor about once a year.
And Bob Hedrick, who leads the NC Providers Council, told the panel that cutting support services for mental health, substance abuse, and the developmentally disabled won’t reduce costs overall - it will simply shift them to hospitals, adult care homes, and prisons.
“These should not be discretionary services,” Hedrick said. “These are necessary services.”
The following may have been derived from science fiction, but it still holds true: There are two traits that determine if a species is sentient or not. One, they are able to comprehend their own mortality. Two, they provide succor to their weak and infirm, their injured and elderly.
That second part is integral to our social contract. I'm not talking about a contract you sign in front of a notary public, and you won't find a copy of it by scrabbling around in your desk drawer. It doesn't need ink and fine print and proper signatures, because it's understood. As long as we're still sentient, that is.