We want Medicaid cuts, or do we?

Published 8:40 pm Thursday, June 29, 2017

As with a lot of legislation coming out of Washington, the general public appears to be in the dark about the details of the health care overhaul plans being considered.

According to a poll administered by Kaiser Health News, while almost three-fourths of Americans have a favorable view of Medicaid, only 38 percent were aware that legislation being considered in the House and Senate would make major funding changes to the program.

About 25 percent of respondents said the legislation made minor changes and 13 percent didn’t realize there were any changes at all.

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The Senate’s plan to replace Obamacare would leave an additional 22 million people without health coverage over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Federal spending on Medicaid would drop by 26 percent over current spending projections in the Senate plan, or $772 billion, over the next decade, according to the analysis.

Depending on your view of government and its role in people’s lives, that’s either a good thing or a bad thing. We happen to think it’s a bad thing.

The drop in spending would occur mainly because the Senate plan phases out federal funds for states to expand Medicaid and it puts annual caps on federal Medicaid dollars to states, according to Kaiser Health News.

In Mississippi, more than 400,000 children are on Medicaid. Another 175,000 on Medicaid are disabled or blind. A total of 25 percent of the state’s population is covered by Medicaid.

If the state loses some of its federal Medicaid funding, fewer Mississippians will have access to healthcare through Medicaid. That includes many Mississippians who are no doubt Republicans and support the legislation currently being crafted by a Republican-controlled Senate.

That’s the funny thing about Mississippi. We are a state full of small government conservatives, but we also can’t wean ourselves off the federal government’s money. We like the idea of smaller government and deficit reductions, but in reality, we really like Uncle Sam’s handouts.