Saturday, November 19, 2005

Until We are Dead or Disabled

ed; title changed from them to we


CBO estimates that the provisions that will cause many low-income Medicaid beneficiaries to be required to pay more out-of-pocket for health care, and will reduce the health care services for which these beneficiaries are covered, represent cuts of nearly $30 billion over ten years. A large body of research shows that when premiums are imposed or co-payments are raised significantly, low-income patients forgo needed health care or medications and many become sicker as a consequence. Consistent with this research, CBO expects the increase in premiums and co-payments in the bill — primarily for near-poor people modestly above the poverty line, who would face particularly large increases in these charges — to lead to Medicaid patients forgoing various health care services and prescription medications or not enrolling in Medicaid at all. CBO noted that its estimate of nearly $30 billion in savings in this area “reflect[s] CBO’s expectation of reduced utilization of services due to higher cost-sharing requirements and decreased participation in Medicaid by individuals who would be required to pay premiums.”

In fact, CBO estimated that about 80 percent of the savings from the increases in Medicaid co-payments are expected to come from decreases in the use of services such as doctors’ visits and prescribed medications
, that ultimately 17 million low-income Medicaid beneficiaries could be subject to high co-payments, and that more than 100,000 people would lose coverage altogether because they would have trouble paying the premiums. CBO also said that the reduced use of health care services would result in more emergency room visits and higher emergency care costs (as people’s health worsens due to lack of timely care).

So we can deal with the wretched poor when they die or become disabled, or as Katrina showed us, not.

In addition, under the House bill, states would no longer be required to provide low-income children just above the poverty line with comprehensive preventive care and treatment. Substantial numbers of near-poor children could lose coverage for such services as eyeglasses, hearing aids, dental care speech therapy, and crutches.

That should help them do well at all their standardized tests.

CBO estimates that child support payments made by non-custodial parents would be $24 billion lower over ten years. CBO estimates that the deep cuts in funding for child support enforcement included in the House bill would result in $24 billion in child support that would otherwise have been collected going unpaid instead.

This is starting to feel like slow genocide.

CBO estimates indicate that more than 220,000 people a month would lose food stamps; the large majority of these are people in low-income working families. This number includes at least 150,000 people, most of them in low-income working families with children that now receive food stamps because they have substantial work and housing expenses that drop their net incomes below the poverty line. In addition, 70,000 legal immigrants who have been in the United States between five and seven years, primarily working-poor parents and poor elderly individuals, would be cut off food stamps by 2008.

There are seven million more hungry Americans now than there were before the "Compassionate Conservatives" got a hold of us.

The good news is that the cash starved states will still have the option to offer free and reduced price school lunches to the children whose families get booted off food stamps.

Remember that this is the same president who forked out $43.00 per governor for wine
and the same man who spent more than a million dollars to have his famous "Mission Accomplished" photo op, but there is more

* Children and Families Services Programs (which includes Head Start) would be reduced by $656 million, or 7.2 percent. Head Start itself would be cut 3 percent, eliminating Head Start slots for about 27,000 low-income children; and

* EPA’s state revolving funds for clean water and drinking water would be reduced by $261 million, or 13.2 percent.

Great timing with the 595 Katrina induced spills across four states. I heard that FEMA has stopped making payments because they are broke although they did not provide disaster aid to Wisconsin after they had 27 tornados in Augustand weren't there another 20 highly unusual tornados in the upper midwest last week?

State by state tables here

This is on top of how poorly the destitute fared last winter when gas was a dollar a gallon cheaper and heating fuel cost a third less. Take a look at these income and poverty stats between 1997-2005 to see where we are going.

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