State of Illinois legislators are fuming because the stricter rules they have put in place for proving Medicare eligibility have been rejected by the Feds. Their legislators say it is necessary to prevent fraud and to lessen the burden on an already overloaded budget.
State Representative Patti Bellock, a Republican who helped craft the reform package, didn't mince words when describing how overloaded she believed the state's Medicaid rolls are.
"Fifty percent of all births in Illinois (are) on Medicaid," Bellock said, according to ISN. "One out of every three children in Illinois is on Medicaid, and one out of every five Illinoisans is on Medicaid."
Is Rep Bellock's "non-minced words" directed at the people receiving Medicare benefits, or at the state of the society in Illinois that results in these large portions of the population having to fall back on public assistance to receive medical care? Add the 2008-2009 uninsured to the numbers she is quoting, and roughly 35% of her state's population is either uninsured or on publicly assisted insurance. And, if you wade through that Kaiser data, you will find that 58% of the uninsured are employed full time, as are 54% of the Medicaid beneficiaries. We are talking about working people. I Guess it's How You Look at It?
Note that Rep Bellock does not seem to be expressing concern that 1/3 of the children in her state are from families that cannot afford "private health insurance", and that perhaps that's an indicator of other deprivations suffered by the young in her state. I Guess it's How You Look at It?
So, is it about "budget issues", or people? It sure as hell isn't about "those people getting jobs and getting off the welfare rolls, as only 55% of the population has employer sponsored coverage, and if you factor out government employees, the private sector is not doing anything truly significant to give access to health care benefits to the population. I Guess it's How You Look at It?
Does the US spend double the per capita amount of other nations for health care, or do we charge double? Indeed, if you look at it from a charges basis, we charge 3 to 4 times more for most medical treatments and supplies than anywhere else in the world, yet our most common health indicators are lower. I Guess it's How You Look at It?
What leaves me cold, is that the generally expressed viewpoint tends to judge poorly those who must rely on public assistance for the cost of their medical services, yet the data shows that on a societal level, we have priced health care out of the reach of a significant portion of the population. I Guess it's How You Look at It?
Sadly, the sub-texts in the medical insurance debate seem to make it sound as if a small, lazy, segment of the population is over burdening the public coffers. I would offer that a large, bloated, greedy insurance and medical care provider industry is slowly, but surely bleeding everybody's coffers. I Guess it's How You Look at It?