New U.S. Rule Pares Outpatient Medicaid ServicesWhere to start?
By ROBERT PEAR, NYT
November 7, 2008
WASHINGTON — 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.
In a notice published Friday in the Federal Register, the Bush administration said it had to clarify the definition of outpatient hospital services because the current ambiguity had allowed states to claim excessive payments.
“This rule represents a new initiative to preserve the fiscal integrity of the Medicaid program,” the notice said.
Humanitarian: Recall W's concept of "universal health care":
"I mean, people have access to health care in America. After all, you just go to an emergency room."Apparently even this limited definition of "access" was too broad for W.
[President Bush Visits Cleveland, Ohio, 10 Jul 2007]
Economic: Actually, there are two legitimate criticisms of the new policy from an economic perspective.
First: This is NOT the time to start observing "fiscal discipline". The country is in recession, and possibly is teetering on the edge of the big D - Depression. As others more economically astute than I (e.g, here and here) have observed, textbook Keynesian theory suggests now is the time for the Federal Government to spend... and not just give billions of $$$ to the banks! (Tho' I've yet to find the original source of the term, "neo-Hooverism" is an entirely accurate description of W's new-found fiscal discipline!)
Second, as the NYT article notes, in the current economic climate the States are struggling and haven't the wherewithal to provide the lost services. (Ah - but that is the States' problem - not W's!) Again - this sudden penny-wise behavior is very definitely pound-foolish!
W restricts access to medical care in order to secure illusory budget "savings"! What a wonderful commentary on his Presidency!
Stop the madness!