Saturday, November 08, 2008

Just Plain Mean

When Bill Clinton left office, his staff merrily pulled the "W" keys from the White House computers before turning out the lights. I had hoped that George W. Bush's staff would respond in kind by pulling the "O" keys before leaving, but obviously their idea of a fun prank is a bit darker. From today's NY Times:

In the first of an expected avalanche of post-election regulations, the Bush administration on Friday narrowed the scope of services that can be provided to poor people under Medicaid’s outpatient hospital benefit.

Public hospitals and state officials immediately protested the action, saying it would reduce Medicaid payments to many hospitals at a time of growing need.

The new rule conflicts with efforts by Congressional leaders and governors to increase federal aid to the states for Medicaid as part of a new economic action plan.

How ugly is that?

Community-based programs that provide dental and vision screening for poor children, as well as lab and ambulance services will take a direct hit. The Bush spin on the move is that it will save Medicaid from insolvency because these services aren't really "outpatient" services and could be performed in a doctor's office for less cost. What the administration is not bothering to mention is that finding a doctor who will take Medicaid patients has become increasingly difficult because of the low program payments and the interminable delays in getting those payments.

Poor people use the hospitals for these services because those hospitals are often the only places within a reasonable geographical distance which offer them. States know this and have worked hard to put those programs into place. President Bush surely knew this as he knocked the pins out from under them.

But wait, there's more!

In May, the White House said it wanted to avoid the rush of “midnight regulations” that had occurred at the end of other administrations. But Bush administration officials said this week that they still intended to issue, or relax, many economic, environmental, health and safety rules before they leave office on Jan. 20.

That's 73 days in which to wreak further havoc. I hope President-Elect Obama has a couple of staff members assigned to read the Federal Register each day, keeping a list of all the other pranks this administration intends to play on the American people so that they can be ameliorated quickly.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The removal of the "W" keys was one of the many press lies about Clinton/Gore. That simply didn't happen. As to finding medical professionals willing to take Medicaid, or whatever, the kid that lives in my house (with his mother) had alot of problems getting a dentist to actually do something. He had multiple cavaties, and the Medicaid-accepting dentist wouldn't do anything; just see the kid and bill the feds. Christ, the kid wasn't even given a free toothbrush in the office, unlike the "paying" customers. His mother finally found a real dentist, as opposed to a crook.

8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bush and Leavitt have been trying to eviscerate Medicaid (and Medicare) all along. But the very few of us who have been writing about this have been roundly ignored by the progressive blogosphere. I finally abandoned writing action posts because the sole response was visits by DHHS and the EOP to my blog - no other readers visited and none commented.

To exclaim that this latest action by Bush and Leavitt is a surprise is to evince obliviousness about their history of doing this to S-CHIP and Medicaid at every opportunity - and especially when Congress is not in session.

I don't know what else to do to capture the attention of readers and political activists.

And to finish - Obama is not a progressive around health policy. He has steered a very moderate Republican course to date, and his advisors and policy platform will not do much to actually make CARE AFFORDABLE AND ACCESSIBLE. Both affordability and accessibility must be present before people will actually be able to receive care, and even then, as the other commenter noted, quality is not a given.

I have long believed that Bush would like to cause as many fast preventable deaths to decrease his notion of surplus population - this would include poor children and adults, the homeless, veterans with health problems from repeat deployments and those with mental illness and addiction health problems(these segments of the adult population account for over one half of the prison population - and these most vulnerable people have a very high percentage of artificially shortened life spans - no death penalty required - just incarcerate them and let the prison environment do the job invisibly)

11:11 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Oh, I'm not suprised, Annie. The SCHIP fiasco was covered here, and I'd like to think that the meatheads who wouldn't vote to overturn the veto will have a special place in hell next to the cowboy wonder.

Thanks for the comment, especially since I've now found yet another solid blog to read each morning.

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought that W thing was a lie. Like everything else that's come out of this misadministration!

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Repigs are mean-spirited.

No surprise there.

And the story about the "W" keys? Pure, unadulterated bullshit.

Terry C - Got My Country Back!

1:57 PM  

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