Skip to comments.LBJ destroyed your state's budget
Posted on 03/10/2015 8:48:19 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
As state legislatures throughout America struggle with requirements to balance their state budgets, let us pause to remember that one-quarter of the budget is dictated by Lyndon Baines Johnson, whose damage to state budgets lives on 42 years after his death.
As president, LBJ pushed for Medicaid -- free health insurance for poor people. This was a boon to the medical industry, particularly hospitals, doctors, sellers of wheelchairs, and nursing homes.
But Medicaid comes at the expense of schools, highways, prisons and others state services because it requires states to pony up some of the money in this federally mandated program.
Medicaid now takes $1 of every $4 states spend. And under Obamacare, those costs are rising as previously qualified people who did not sign up must now sign up -- and they are now using their free coverage.
From the National Association of State Budget Officers:
Medicaid, the largest component of total state spending, is estimated to account for a greater share of expenditures in fiscal 2014, representing 25.8 percent of total state expenditures, up from 24.5 percent in fiscal 2013. Meanwhile, elementary and secondary education declined slightly, representing 19.5 percent of total state expenditures in fiscal 2014, compared to 19.8 percent in fiscal 2013.
So how did we get into this mess?
In 1965, being retired meant poverty. The Census Bureau reported the poverty rate for people 65 and older was 30% -- far higher than 18 and younger (22%) and people 18 to 64 (10%).
Congress determined that giving people 65 and older subsidized health insurance would help and Medicare was born. The medical industry appreciated the effort, as did the elderly, whose poverty rate is 9.1% some 50 years later.
But President Johnson and his Democratic Party added the single-payer, socialistic Medicaid system to pay the health bills of the poor. States had been offering public health services to the poor but Johnson wanted to dignify poverty and allow the poor to be treated by regular doctors. And of course, the regular doctors wanted the revenue stream.
The federal government offered to pay most of the bills (it pays 57% today) with the states paying the rest and running the programs. The federal government had a basic plan, but also allowed states to add extras -- eye care, for example -- and the medical industry lobbied in good times to add the extras. But once added, good luck trimming the extras. The medical industry will act as if you hate children if you trim any service. Of course, the medical industry could offer these services pro bono, but let's not get crazy about it.
I wish I had an answer for how we get out of this mess. Maybe we need Amendment 28: Congress shall make no law regarding health care -- ever.
This summary is misleading.
If you go to the source material from The National Association of State Budget Officers, you see that while Medicaid accounts for 25.8% of the state spending, the state is only covering part of that expense. The second pie chart shows that 15.3% of a state’s own expenses are going toward Medicaid expenses. The rest is coming from the Federal government.
I found a study by the Pew Charitable Trusts entitled “State Health Care Spending on Medicaid.” I was curious because I see my Mom’s nursing home bills. She pays, from her own funds, more than $60,000/year for her nursing home stay. The Pew Study noted “Elderly and disabled individuals made up only 24% of enrollees in 2010, but they accounted for approximately 64% of payments.”
A further comment - Medicaid payments are made to the health care providers, they are not paid to the person receiving the service.
My husband and I have saved for retirement and should be able to pay for any required nursing home stays. How many of you can afford $5,000/month to stay in a nursing home? How many of you have relatives relying on Medicaid to pay for a nursing home? How many of you are planning on gaming the system and trying to figure out how to give your $100,000 savings plus your home to your children rather than using them to pay your nursing home bills? It’s easy to rationalize - “I worked all my life for this home and savings, and now some darned nursing home gets it. Let the state pay for my nursing home! After all, I’ve paid taxes all these years.” Whether you want to admit it or not, that’s dishonest.
It’s easy to decry the system until you realize that you may have to rely on it some day. Or a beloved elderly relative will.
The elderly, beloved or not, die. That is the way of the world. Why should those who don’t even know them be required on pain of death or imprisonment to resist this to the detriment of themselves and those they love?
Bread and circuses. Politicians throughout the ages haves always figured out you can trade votes for handouts. This over time destroys the productive class and enslaves those whose vote was purchased, but for politicians who crave power, this is a fair trade.
My grandparents took care of their parents and did not park them in a nursing home. My parents and their siblings did the same with their parents. My sisters and I took care of our parents and my husband’s sister took care of her parents. None abandoned to a nursing home.
My dad, after retiring from the Navy, served as a nursing home inspector for a short time because he had visited them and knew they stunk. He was a real nasty (meaning honest and disdainful of excuses and unprofessionalism and furious at abuse) inspector. They put him on the five worst ones and he cleaned them up or closed them down in two years. He trained seven people during that time and then left. Politicians tried to get him fired. He was proud of that and they were sorry they messed with him because he gave their opponents some great stuff to use at election time.
And by so doing he got even your REPUBLICAN State Government to foot the bill for “keeping those (n-words) voting for Democrats forever.”
Gotta hand it to the man. He was fiendish, but brilliant.
The system you are describing is evil, unconstitutional and unsustainable as it grows.
Depend on it to your own detriment.
Didn’t LBJ also “encourage” insurance companies to drop people so they would have no choice but to use his new program?
Nothing justifies taking money from someone at the point of a gun.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.