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Medicaid is in the news today, or at least POLITICO, which says "Dems quiet on Medicaid cutbacks," which isn't entirely true. But a refocus on this critical program for Democrats is certainly in order.
[F]or all the Democrats’ posturing and campaigning against Republican plans for Medicare, the GOP budget actually makes more immediate and deeper cuts to Medicaid. But Democrats haven’t been blasting the GOP Medicaid plan with nearly the same fervor, even though Republicans would cut about $750 billion from the program during the next decade and end the guaranteed federal match for states.

With intense budget negotiations on the debt limit under way, health care insiders think Democrats won’t budge much on Medicare now that they have a significant campaign chip in their pockets: Kathy Hochul’s upset win in New York’s 26th Congressional District is Exhibit A of the power of Medicare.

And that makes advocates worry that Medicaid cuts are more likely to come out of budget negotiations led by Vice President Biden.

Democrats haven't focused as intently on Medicaid as Medicare, but what they have said has been good. White House Economic Direct Gene Sperling was particularly forceful in blasting the Ryan plan and specifically its Medicaid proposal:

So when we say that there—that the tyranny of the math is that these—these—this Medicaid program, this Medicaid cut will lead to millions of poor children, children with serious disabilities, children with autism—elderly Americans in nursing homes losing their coverage or being—or—or having it significantly cut, we are not criticizing their plan. We are just simply explaining their plan.

Sen. Robert Mendendez has declared Medicaid cuts off the table, saying the Medicaid block grant proposal from Republicans "is not, in my mind, a plan that will find currency in our caucus." And House Democrats are publicizing the massive cuts the Republican plan would create, on a congressional district level.

None of which is to say that Medicaid could end up being the bargaining chip that keeps Medicare out of the final mix, which is why advocates are raising the alarm now. They have good reason, since Republicans seem intent on slashing Medicaid to the bone. You needn't look further than Florida Gov. Chris Christie and his proposal to limit Medicaid to impossible bounds, to families of three making less than $6,000 annually. Republicans consider Medicaid nothing more then welfare, and seem to think the rest of America shares that attitude.

They're wrong. A number of recent polls, from KFF (and KFF again) to PPP, to Anzone Liszt Research have found the public nearly as opposed to Medicaid cuts as to Medicare.

Democrats should be folding Medicaid into their messaging on Medicare, and focus on the fact that the Republican plan for Medicaid would hurt current senior citizens as well as million of middle- and low-income families.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Jun 06, 2011 at 06:01 PM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Why do we need "advocacy groups"? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert, COBALT1928, Oh Mary Oh

    Medicaid is a lifeline...a safety net..for our most vulnerable citizens.

    Why in the world do we need advocacy groups to insure this is maintained????

    What a crock.

    I'm getting soooo pissed at things like this and things like those (mostly repubs) that want to change medicare into some kind of "voucher program" and making Social Security into private investment accounts.

    Stooooopid is as stooooopid does...

    -- **Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.**

    by r2did2 on Mon Jun 06, 2011 at 06:05:06 PM PDT

    •  Perhaps we need advocacy (6+ / 0-)

      groups to speak for the voiceless in opposition to the monied.  This is how things work in this country.

      " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

      by gchaucer2 on Mon Jun 06, 2011 at 06:42:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Rec'd (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Can't argue that.  Perhaps we do need advocacy groups for that.  We certainly seem to NOT have anyone in any governmental leadership position that is going to do it for us.  

        I know that sounds cynical.  But, my goodness, has happened to our elected officials lately?  Seems the one and only priority they have is maintaining power and their particular seat in the congress/senate.

        -- **Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.**

        by r2did2 on Mon Jun 06, 2011 at 06:47:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Hate to tell you (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      but Medicaid is not just a "safety net". For most of the famililes on it, its a way of life, and a multi-generational benefit.

      Truth is that politicians know that most people on Medicaid are the most under-educated segment of the population, and therefore aren't expected to vote. Therefore, there isn't much political blowback from cutting Medicaid.

      That is why Medicare is off the table, and Medicaid is very much on.

      •  Not sure on that one, ruascott (0+ / 0-)

        Sounds kinda condescending, my friend.  Sure, in some cases this is true, of course.  But, I'd not go as far as to say it's "multi-generational...meaning, of course, generation-to-generation.  Welfare?  We might agree on that.  But, Clinton slowed that down a bunch.

        Just my input on that.

        -- **Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.**

        by r2did2 on Mon Jun 06, 2011 at 06:52:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah the reform act (0+ / 0-)

          did change quite a bit of that. I'm just saying that of the of the Medicaid recipients, about 75-80% of recipients are low income people....not elderly or disabled. Most of that is multi-generational poverty. That's all I'm saying, not trying to be condescending or judging. Just the facts.

      •  MEDICAID (0+ / 0-)

        I read that 65% of elderly Americans, including my mother in law and my stepfather have nursing home care paid for all or in part by Medicaid, after spending down their life savings.  These were not poor people until they had strokes and survived them.

  •  Protect elderly and disabled from GOP Vouchercare! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert, We Won, COBALT1928

    I like your messaging suggestions--pointing out how many parents of disabled children on Medicaid would be affected if GOP Vouchercare goes through would resonate with a lot of families, I think.

    We Won't Let Republicans Replace Medicare with GOP Vouchercare!

    by CatM on Mon Jun 06, 2011 at 06:08:47 PM PDT

    •  Bah! Let the Elderly protect themselves! (0+ / 0-)

      Last I looked, Florida was a Red State from Assembly to Governor and Senator.

      Call me when they're gone. Then I'll pitch in to protect of oldtimers.

      •  Do young people realize they will have to let (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        We Won, CatM, COBALT1928

        Parents move in when Medicaid isn't available to pay for nursing homes?  Nursing home care costs $80,000 to 100,000 per year, and Medicaid pays if the elder has spent their assets or never had any.  

        Of course it helps middle class people pay for care for disabled children, but nursing home care is the biggest fraction of Medicaid.

        The scientific uncertainty doesn't mean that climate change isn't actually happening.

        by Mimikatz on Mon Jun 06, 2011 at 06:39:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Average nursing home cost (0+ / 0-)

          Ever seen the costs of nursing home care?  It's astronomical.  10 elderly patients in these homes times $100,000/yr = $1 million/yr.  That's just 10 elderly people.

          Meals are charged out sometimes at $50 per patient three times/day.  Charges for labor is astronomical.  Cleaning?  Ya gotta fight to get that contract.  

          I don't know the fraction of cost of Medicaid that goes into nursing home care, but I do know this is an expensive proposition.  

          My point here is not that Medicaid pays for it...this is as it should be.  My point is that we, as taxpayers, are being ripped off BIG TIME.  

          -- **Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.**

          by r2did2 on Mon Jun 06, 2011 at 07:00:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I am so happy I don't (0+ / 0-)

        have a mind-meld with you because I'd be constantly nauseated.

        " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

        by gchaucer2 on Mon Jun 06, 2011 at 06:43:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  For every 1 (0+ / 0-)

      disabled child on Medicaid, there are at least 100 multi-generational Medicaid recepients.

  •  One of the notable features of the 1996 welfare (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert

    "reform" was the introduction of block grants. It's obvious what the Republicans want to do.

  •  Why isn't anyone talking about the fact (8+ / 0-)

    that the Medicaid program is supposed to absorb millions of poor adults when the Affordable Care Act kicks in in 2014? What do they think is going to happen to that plan to provide insurance coverage for the poor if Medicaid as we know it is gone?

    The reason Republicans are fighting so hard to take down Medicaid in their own state governments is thanks to a little-noticed provision in the ACA.

    The law says that if states decide that adding millions of people to their state Medicaid rolls in 2014 isn't affordable, in 2016, they can roll back eligibility for the program to those who were on the program before the ACA goes into effect.

    In other words, if they can shrink the eligibility pool by 2014, two years later they can drop all the poor people who were added to their state Medicaid programs in 2014 with the apparent blessing of the Democratic government.


    Republicans are bastards. Clever, but bastards nonetheless.

    "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

    by Brooke In Seattle on Mon Jun 06, 2011 at 06:10:22 PM PDT

  •  Gov. Chris Christie (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert, ColoTim, COBALT1928, geordie

    is the governor of New Jersey.

    Florida has Rick Scott as its governor.

  •  They're Democrats so expect a surrender. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Also called a "bipartisan compromise".

  •  Most states now offer low-cost coverage (0+ / 0-)

    for children.

    Most adults under 65 don't qualify for Medicaid at any income level.

    Some states allow pregnant women to qualify with low, but real-world income levels.

    •  Yes they do (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      We Won

      Medicaid pays for nursing home care for indigent seniors (and people of other ages).  Medicare doesn't pay for what is custodial care, just brief rehabilitation stays in skilled nursing facilities, for example after surgery.  Then the person or family has to pay, and it is 6-8000 per month or more.  When older people can't go to nursing homes, they have to be cared for by family.  Of course some people do that anyway, but a facility has activities and social interactions that help seniors.  But they are pricy.

      The scientific uncertainty doesn't mean that climate change isn't actually happening.

      by Mimikatz on Mon Jun 06, 2011 at 06:47:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The late great Congressman Phil Burton of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    San Francisco, succeeded by his wife Sala upon his death and Nancy Pelosi on the death of Sala, is famous for many things among them this quote"

    The only way to deal with exploiters is to terrorize the bastards.

    That is exactly what Democrats and liberals must do now.

    Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a Republican. But I repeat myself. Harry Truman

    by ratcityreprobate on Mon Jun 06, 2011 at 06:29:15 PM PDT

  •  Medicaid is for poor people so to hell with them. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    We Won, Brooke In Seattle

    Except there's all these middle class people who end up poor when they've used up their resources for long term care. But most people don't get that, so they think Medicaid is for "those people."

    "So, am I right or what?"

    by itzik shpitzik on Mon Jun 06, 2011 at 06:37:09 PM PDT

    •  And middle class people with disable kids (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      We Won, itzik shpitzik

      That is a large part of Medicaid as well.

      I don't think the GOP really understands these programs or who they serve.

      The scientific uncertainty doesn't mean that climate change isn't actually happening.

      by Mimikatz on Mon Jun 06, 2011 at 06:49:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Older people do understand (0+ / 0-)

      The age group with the most opposition to Ryan's plans is seniors.  I think this  was on Ezra Klein's site.  They (we) are old enough to remember life before Medicare and have the most understanding of Medicare.  They also understand what Medicare does and doesn't pay for (long-term care).  Younger people are the only ones who support Ryancare, but even there it is pretty close.  They will change as they understand what effect it will have on their parents and their obligations toward them.  

      The scientific uncertainty doesn't mean that climate change isn't actually happening.

      by Mimikatz on Mon Jun 06, 2011 at 06:58:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Republicans (0+ / 0-)

    are scum. Seriously. I don't think they understand how many millions of people they are undercutting.

    Just say' NO' to conspiracy theories

    by Krush on Mon Jun 06, 2011 at 06:37:14 PM PDT

  •  Exactly right - focus the Medicaid message on the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mimikatz, We Won, Brooke In Seattle

    elderly because while many in the voting public want to write Medicaid off as a program used by those on the "dole" it isn't so easy to write off the program that keeps grandma and grandpa off the streets or that keeps the sandwich generation from having to spend their kid's college fund to take care of their parents.  

  •  I volunteer with a Catholic Church (0+ / 0-)

    which picks up the slack from government neglect.  Even prior to the odious proposed and actual cuts by Republicans, poor people who want to work, raise a family, give back are fucked.  This Church provides a sanctuary, education and opportunities.  I won't apoligize for supporting them -- even though it has cost me participation in diaries I supported.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Mon Jun 06, 2011 at 06:49:39 PM PDT

  •  They will focus mostly on Medicare and Social (0+ / 0-)

    Security because most people have more favorable opinions of those programs as opposed to Medicaid.

  •  The Race to the Bottom (0+ / 0-)

    Senator Olympia Snowe has aptly described the Republican Medicaid plans as a “Race to the Bottom”. Ryancare would change Medicaid from a guarantee of access and coverage for all who meet federally mandated eligibility rules to a capped state block grant system with minimal oversight which pushes the financial burden onto state budgets. Given that states are loath to increase taxes to take up this additional burden states are likely to pass the burden on to those, at or near the poverty level, who are unable to pay. Block grants for Medicaid are a just a political cover for the rollback of the social network and the release of new funds for further tax cuts for high earners. For those at or near the poverty level they are an invitation to an early demise. Governor Christe (R-NJ) has already fired the first shot in the Republican war on low paid and unemployed by requesting Federal exemption to reduce Medicare eligibility from $24,645 to $5,317 for a family of three  Where will they go?

  •  Mail today (0+ / 0-)

    From the Washington State Democratic Party touted how my Senators and Congressional Representatives were willing to Fight for Medicare.  The same folks who said we had to cut entitlements to fight the deficit.  What was curious is that this elaborate mailer/fund solicitation said NOTHING about Medicaid.  The fix is in.

  •  I've wondered why Democrats have been silent (0+ / 0-)

    on Medicaid. It would be as simple as changing their, "Protect the sick, elderly and disabled on Medicare and Medicaid." Two words added to their position. "And" and "Medicaid."

    On another topic ... what's Ed doing on MSNBC demanding Anthony Weiner resign???

    An Inspirational Poem: Follow me on Twitter @Sloopydrew! Tell me you're from DKos and I'll also follow you!

    by sloopydrew on Mon Jun 06, 2011 at 09:12:52 PM PDT

  •  The DEMOCRATS (0+ / 0-)

    THE DEMOCRATS WILL CAVE AS USUALL on this. I say it is time to either start a new Democratic Party or get rid of thes so CALLED DEMOCRATS we have now.

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