Public insurance: A good deal

Here’s an interesting item to toss into the “Obamacare” debate this holiday season. Despite the contrary opinion of many (mainly Republicans and health industry lobbyists), public insurance programs like Medicaid and CHIP actually provide better health care for poor kids than private insurance does. Costs less, too.

Unfortunately, money for these programs is drying up.  According to Child Trends (a great resource), 17 states decreased Medicaid expenditures between 2004 and 2006, with Oklahoma leading the race to the bottom with a mind-boggling 99% reduction in that two-year span. No doubt more states have joined this trend since 2006.

Sooner State: not crazy about poor kids.

This is a classic case of political short-sightedness: slash spending for today’s children to score points with the conservative base, even if it  means increased expenditures on health care (and law enforcement, but that’s a different discussion) later.

Unless, of course, you have no intention of paying those later costs either, which in my more despondent moments is the third-world future I see for America…

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