Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Department of How could I have missed this?

I believe I had something to say last year about the vicious cuts in Missouri's Medicaid program, which immediately threw 90,000 poor people -- elderly, disabled, and families with children -- off the rolls, and cut benefits to 300,000 more, including, get this, breathing equipment. Of course hospitals are stuck with the bills for people who can't pay, and the state loses federal matching funds. But I missed two kind of important points at the time. The first is Governor Matt Blunt's concept of Christian morality. Here's from the NPR story last May:

The proposals have opened a moral schism, with some preachers expressing outrage, but the governor, a devout Christian, defends the cuts as morally correct. Gov. Matt Blunt says not cutting Medicaid would force him to raise taxes -- and in his eyes, raising taxes is wrong.

That's from the Gospel According to Saint Pat Robertson, of course.

What I also missed is that they also voted to eliminate Medicaid entirely by 2008. Now that's really getting Christian on the people's asses. According to Community Catalyst, however, the devil stalks Missouri -- they just aren't good Christians after all:

Despite the rhetoric from conservatives, polls show that these cuts are not popular with the public. A recent poll of 800 likely voters commissioned by the St. Louis Post Dispatch and KMOV-TV found that 22% of voters rated providing Medicaid to the poor and disabled as the most important issue facing Missouri, second only to education (25%). 64% thought the cuts made to Medicaid were "too severe". (St. Louis Post Dispatch, January 21, 2006).

Missouri hospitals have been pushing an initiative for a tobacco tax, but the money would not go to support Medicaid, so a coalition has formed to save Medicaid in Missouri through the tobacco tax. That may be better than nothing but the last thing the Satan worshippers in the Show Me state should want is for Medicaid to be dependent on healthy sales of cigarettes. Meanwhile, all I can say is, if Jesus Christ was alive today, he'd roll over in his grave.

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