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Uninsured shouldn't pay for lack of action

Date published: 4/9/2014

We're told we shouldn't expand Medicaid now because it's neither "reasonable" nor "smart budgeting." Also, in a slightly more emotional vein, Medicaid is "hemorrhaging our money already." I don't support this position for two main reasons.

First, the time for reasonable action has passed.

About seven years ago, after several years of Medicaid audits had determined problems existed [In "Dollars, cents say don't expand Medicaid . . .," April 2] Thomas A. "Tom" Garrett Jr. says audits have been done for at least 10 years--now that was the time for reasonable, smart-budgeting, fiscally responsible politicians to begin efforts to eliminate those problems.

And then revise those efforts until the hemorrhaging was a trickle. That didn't happen.

Or legislators could have begun the process of fixing Medicaid on March 23, 2010, when the Affordable Care Act became a reality (or later when it became a constitutional reality).

But no preparations occurred--even though fiscally responsible legislators controlled both houses of the General Assembly and lived in the governor's mansion. Legislators didn't do their job.

What usually happens in democratic republics when legislators don't do their job is the people pay. On this occasion, if some must pay, the primary victims in one of the richer states in America should not be 400,000 of its poorer citizens and its hospitals.

Second, I disapprove of the delegates' plan because it conforms perfectly with the goals of Republicans in Washington, who recklessly seek to thwart the president at virtually every turn and make the ACA as small a success (or as big a failure) as possible.

Destroying the ACA regardless of consequences is certainly an easier task than addressing our problems of medical care and costs, but it is hardly a worthy or admirable one--or one the majority of Americans approve of.

Don Siegmund