Monday, May 4, 2009

Jeb Bush's Florida A Perfect Example Of Why Medicaid 'Reform' Is A Scam

For all of the Republican Party's desperate attempts to distance themselves from their recent past, it seems that the only people they keep trotting out to tell us how much they have changed since November are the very same people who drove us straight into our current economic crisis. The very same people who made the word torture a household name. And the very same people who took the Medicaid program, ripped it out of the hands of the government, and handed it to the insurance industry, who promptly began ripping off untold billions of dollars of taxpayer money while ensuring people could not go to their doctors.

Now we hear of the cross country tour being staged by none other than Jeb Bush, former Florida Governor, and brother to our former President. Once considered a natural successor to Georgie, he now feels the need to try to reinvent the Republican brand via a whirlwind nationwide town meeting stunt. But it can not and should not work. No one should listen to yet another failed Governor with White House aspirations, especially one who would like to angle his way towards keeping the half century Bush dynasty going. Ask Florida legislators, who, despite the claims of Jeb Bush's overwhelming popularity, are cursing his name due to the fiscal mess he has left them to sort out.

Such as the Florida Medicaid program. Governor Jeb jumped aboard the over the cliff express that called itself Medicaid reform. The public was sold the usual line about how Medicaid was bankrupting the system, blah blah blah, but the reality was then and is now that Medicaid 'reform' was little more than the largest theft in American history. That is, until the recent rape of the entire economy by the Bushies on their way out the door.

Although the State of Florida has been loath to actually implement the 'reforms' that the Republican controlled government shoved down the throat of the country, time is running out for the state and more importantly, hospitals that serve the poor and disabled. What that means is should the state not force patients into 'managed care', ie; hand the Medicaid program over to the private insurance industry, the state stands to lose over $300 million in Federal funding.

This would force hospitals to stop servicing the poor, the elderly, the infirm, or anyone else who can not afford health insurance. But good news may be on the way for Florida's poor, who already receive one of the lowest TANF amounts in the nation. The State Legislator is seeking a way to pass a bill asking for more time from the Federal Government with an eye towards the new White House and President Obama possibly issuing a waiver for the state, or abolishing the scam 'reforms' altogether. The head of Florida's State Health Care Budget Office has stated what many of us have been screaming for years. He told Florida media outlets ''We've done the experiment. It has failed. The reports are unsettling. People couldn't get to specialists, couldn't get adequate care. And they couldn't do it cheaply.''

Standing in the way of reform of the 'reform' of Medicaid are, uh huh, the insurance companies and Florida's private hospitals. The hospitals stand to gain a large chunk in the short term of Florida's Medicaid surplus, money that has been saved on the sickness of the poor. The insurance companies, desperate to keep their gravy train rolling, are attempting to force the state into compliance with the federal law.

He was speaking of the poor in the two Florida counties that have implemented the so called Medicaid 'reform' which forces patients to choose between one of two hand picked insurance companies. (Who picks these companies? What is the process that determines their choice? No one knows.) The companies then give patients a one month grace period during which they may go to the doctor of their choice without having to pay. After that month, they must choose a doctor approved by the insurance company, and are hit with the news that they are now in a co-pay system. In most cases, this has proven to be such a burden that people are having to choose between paying bills, buying food, or going to the doctor. In a further effort to dissuade patients from seeking proper care, the companies impose even higher co-pays on those who have the audacity of needing a specialist.

Co-pays for office visits. Co-pays for specialists. Co-pays for medication. Charge after charge placed upon the poorest of the poor in an effort to keep them from going to seek out health care in the first place. For keeping the poor out of the doctor's office, the insurance companies then rake in major taxpayer money that the public thinks is going to pay for the care of their neighbors, but in reality it's going into the pockets of rich fat cats in the form of bonuses handed out by the Federal government for those companies saving the government money. A very nice arrangement for the insurance industry, but not so nice for the ones who need care, but can not afford to get it.

Every single time a story is written telling of how badly Medicaid 'reform' is going, there are many many people who respond with horror stories of their own. Stories of sickness gone untreated. Stories of loved ones who ultimately died due to care coming too late to save them. And if the scamming of the system doesn't move you, nor the stories of people getting sick with no care, then think of this. The recent Swine Flu scare. Do you want your neighbor walking around with some disease that may or may not be contagious? All to give money to the insurance industry? No? Then get on the bandwagon and let's demand a return to the government running the program. It will cost less, people will be able to get the care they need, and everyone can sleep easier knowing that people with communicable diseases aren't getting on the bus or train with us. All it takes is contacting your Senator or House Representative and telling them to change the Medicaid laws back to the way they were before George Bush and his criminal regime allowed their fat cat friends to decimate it and bank all the money offshore. Tell them the casino is closed, the slot machines are broken, and we will not gamble with people's lives any more. You want an economic recovery? Get private companies out of our government.

When Jeb Bush pulls into your town and starts spewing the garbage of how reformed the Republican party is suddenly, all the while presenting to you the exact same people who threw America down the toilet for a buck, ask him why he jumped on the 'Destroy Medicaid For A Buck' program. Ask him why Florida is scrambling to undo the mess he left behind. Ask him how many poor people in his former state could not get care, remained sick, or even how many died due to his little experiment. He won't have an answer for you, and that should be enough of an answer for any thinking American to reject out of hand anything Jeb 'The Huckster' Bush has to say.

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