The essence of Paul Ryan’s Ryan Ripoff budget is hiding the ball. Steep cuts in Medicare—but not for anyone who’s old today! Giant tax cuts for the rich—but tax hikes for the middle class! And what about the steep Medicaid cuts? Well according to Ryan op-ed they’re a kind of “welfare reform”.
In other words, people are supposed to think Medicaid is that “bad” kind of government spending, the one that goes to shiftless black folks not hard-working Americans like you and me and Paul Ryan. But look at the actual distribution of Medicaid dollars:
This is mostly a program for the elderly and the disabled. It’s the main way we finance long-term care in this country. If you don’t directly benefit from it, you very likely have a parent or grandparent who does and whose financial needs will simply tend to fall on you if the program is cut. Meanwhile, in terms of the “welfare” aspect of Medicaid by far the largest set of poor people it covers are poor children. Is Ryan’s view that these kids should have worked harder to have rich parents? Poor kids tend to struggle with a lot of problems and are in many ways disadvantaged in the competitive economy by the time they’re out of diapers. It seems to me that investing in their basic health care is a no brainer way of leveling the playing field somewhat and ensuring that the country is making the most of our human resources.