Don't you love it when you hear about programs being passed that are actually going to do something to help the little guy? Some legislation that benefits Main Street and not Wall Street? You know, like keeping people in their homes, helping the unemployed, getting some bucks to small businesses, opening and expanding Community Health Centers and providing health care to the poor and underserved - stuff like that.
I hate to rain on our parades, but more and more I am seeing that these "feel good" programs turn out to be just that - a program that is announced and rolled out with great hoopla, some backslapping, a trumpet fanfare, and a "here's one for the little guys" speech or press release.
But when you check back one or two years later, you discover - "That great program? The one that was actually going to help the man in the street? Fageddabottit."
I wrote a little while ago here about the fact that almost none of the monies allocated for HAMP (mortgage modification) or EHLP (keeping unemployed people in their homes) or the SBLF (Small Business Lending) had been used for their express purpose - out of 81 Billion allocated,75 Billion UNUSED.
Anyway, here we go again.
One of the few things that even I felt good about in the ACA was the expansion of the Community Health Centers. You remember that, right? This was a big part where the rubber would actually hit the road and some communities that were bereft of affordable accessible care for their citizens were actually going to be provided with a way to supply such with Federal ACA funds.
Well, maybe not.
In what is starting to become more evidence of an extremely cynical shell game, we find out once again that the great program and dollars we thought were going to a really terrific goal are being undistributed and scaled back. In this piece from Kaiser Health News by By Phil Galewitz, from Oct.6, 2011
The applications poured in, spurred by millions of dollars in new funding included in the health law to expand primary care to the poor. A record 810 groups sought federal grants to staff and equip hundreds of new and existing community health centers.
But in August, most were rejected, leaving advocates frustrated that they would not be able to serve the growing numbers of uninsured and poor people, or be ready for an influx of patients under the health law.
Rather than handing out $250 million to establish new patient care sites to serve more than 2 million additional people as originally expected, the Obama administration gave $29 million to 67 nonprofit organizations that will serve an additional 286,000 patients.
The funding cut was a result of a federal budget compromise in March to keep the government open. That agreement reduced federal spending by nearly $80 billion, including a $600 million trim in funding for ongoing operations at existing health centers.
Please read the entire article, it's filled with all the good stuff that didn't happen because of the diversion of funds from new projects to current expenses.
The Money allocated for Community Health Centers in the ACA was 11 Billion total of which this 250 million was just a part, BUT
In this story we see how 250 million became 29 million.
In the earlier housing/finance stories I wrote about 81 Billion allocated became 6.1 Billion distributed. Many of the housing dollars did not make it into the pipeline due to the sheer incompetence of Timothy Geithner at Treasury and Shaun Donovan at HUD and their inability to design programs with qualifications that people could meet.
Smoke - Why take any pronouncements about do-good programs seriously if all the administration can do is pass them, but is unable to effect them .
I am curious to see how much of the remainder of the 11 Billion allocated towards Community Health Centers will be actually spent for this purpose and whether the cause for the dollars disappearing will be structural incompetence or deficit cutting.
Mirrors - What good are programs and dollars voted on and allocated if they have elastic strings on them back to the hands of the deficit cutters who didn't vote for their passage in the first place?