posted on December 02, 2009 13:41
Cansler’s answer – in his op-ed – was he hasn’t (and isn’t going to) cut care to one patient who needs it.
Which sounds fine – except it seems Cansler determines how many people he wants to cut, then, almost magically, finds that precisely the same number of people don’t need care.
Of course the root of Cansler’s problem is money – which goes back to the budget negotiations last summer when Governor Perdue was zigging and zagging between cutting spending and raising taxes. Somewhere along the way Secretary Cansler told legislators he could cut his department’s spending $400 million if, first, they’d let him hand out $250 million in no bid contracts.
Now, of course, that’s what every Cabinet secretary says when he wants to pass out no bid contracts – but this is politics and Democratic legislators said yes and left town and Cansler passed out the contracts, increasing spending $250 million.
Then he focused on cutting his budget and ran head on into a problem: Medicaid is an entitlement program. Which means by law poor, sick people are ‘entitled’ to care and Cansler couldn’t just wave a wand and cut them. First he’d have to change the law. Which he didn’t do.
Plus the Obama Administration had told him making it harder for elderly, sick people to get medical care could cost North Carolina $2 billion in Medicaid Stimulus Funds. Plus, cutting care to patients – like a twenty month old infant wasn’t going to make him – or his boss Governor Perdue – look very kind hearted.
Cansler needed a solution. And he found one. In fact, he killed two birds with one stone by declaring the patientshe was going to cut weren’t sick and didn’t need care – that side step got him around the Obama Administration’s objections and solved his political problem, since no one was going to argue with cutting a patient who was cheating Medicaid to get care they didn’t need.
Now there’s no doubt there’re probably plenty of people cheating Medicaid – but the number Cansler came up with was eye-popping. Right off the bat he announced that so many people were cheating in one program – Medicaid Home Care – that 58% of the care being provided was going to skizzlers.
And how Cansler arrived at that number was odd. He announced it before a single patient – for instance like Chloe – was examined.
So, in fact, all this looks like politics as usual: Cansler promised legislators $400 million in cuts, then promptly increased spending $250 million (to pay for no-bid contracts) and, now, to cut his budget is claiming 58% of the Medicaid money being spent for home care is going to skizzlers – a number even a right wing Republican like me has trouble believing.
Then, Cansler sat down and wrote an op-ed for the News and Observer saying he’s not cutting care to a single patient who needs it.
After the latest polls the folks in the Governor’s office must be happy to see Beverly Perdue’s popularity rebounding from fatal to nearly fatal – but there’s no need for Republicans to worry. Secretary Cansler is taking care of the problem for us.
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