You know, some things are actually worse than a slight increase in taxes for those whose cups runneth over:
On July 1, nearly 3 million Californians–mostly low-income parents, seniors, and people with disabilities–lost ten key benefits in their Medi-Cal coverage. The biggest concern is dental coverage, which over 900,000 of these patients use in a given year. Other benefits these patients lost include podiatry, optometry, psychology, and speech therapy.
All of these cuts are foolish: Dental coverage allows for better nutrition and prevents emergency room visits. Podiatry is an early warning signal for diabetes, etc. But these decisions don’t even meet the “penny-wise” cliché. In addition to being cuts to preventative care, the state is losing $1.60 in federal matching funds for every dollar we cut, impacting our health system, and our economy.
And while those cuts focus on all adults on California’s safety-net programs, the children have not been spared. Far from it. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed fully eliminating Healthy Families, California’s version of the state Child Health Insurance Program that covers nearly one million children.
Last Friday, July 17th, the board that runs Healthy Families closed enrollment, both to new applicants and even to those who are shifted from other state programs. Children on Medi-Cal coverage turning one or six-years-old in certain income categories will get a birthday gift of losing their health insurance. It is estimated that over 350,000 low-income children will be frozen out of health coverage and placed on a waiting list in the next year.
The news today is even worse: the cuts that legislative leaders just agreed to as an alternative to full elimination would force the program not just to impose a wait list, but also to actively dis-enroll hundreds of thousands more children from coverage. The consequences will be kids not getting glasses to see the blackboard, missing school for toothaches, and otherwise delaying care. One ailment or accident on the playground would put families at risk of financial ruin, and needed care will be delayed or avoided altogether. Children’s and other community groups don’t mince words when they say that cuts at this scale mean kids will die.
Naturally, it’s the party of Jesus – the champions of family values – that are leading the charge to kick poor kids off the health care rolls rather than raise taxes on the uber-wealthy/others. Perhaps we need another symposium on how God-less Democrats can better connect to faith voters. Is Amy Sullivan available?
Greed sure is a bitch though. It’s as if the California GOP/voters are in a plane going down, and each would rather grasp their bag of gold than grab a parachute. Or rather, they’d use a parachute for themselves and then use one for their gold rather than give it to a poor kid.
Like Jesus would do.
UPDATE: And of course, while a blind eye is turned to the real-world consequences for actual people, the shrieking is reserved for alternate-reality health care whereby Obama euthanizes your grandmama. We’re doomed.