The Shape of Things to Come

As Florida grips for possible damage to its populace from Hurricane Wilma (we’re running out of letters…) what had been the strongest hurricane ever measured in the Atlantic… just giving an exclamation point to this year’s disasters… its poor and elderly population should gear up for another kind of disaster, of the governmentally created kind: a massive medicaid “reform” that both proponents and detractors call “a radical change”.
Near as I can tell, this measure, proposed and enacted in a state where the President’s brother is governor, and since JEB Bush will almost certainly be the GOP nominee in 2008 (barring liberal fantasies of Cheney’s resignation followed by Condi Rice named as veep followed by Bush’s resignation… something about the Prez and Veep acting as accessories after the fact to treason…)… we can expect a similar program to be proposed on a national scale by President John Edward “JEB” Bush after he takes office in January 2009.
What this amounts to is the ability to shunt medicaid patients to private insurers, who can then set annual and life-time limits on treatment they (the insurer) will pay for… the precise opposite of social insurance. Estimates are 5% of the medicaid population should hit the annual limit each year; what happens to them is… a mystery (most likely they will become a “charity burden” on hospitals and health-care-related philanthropies… which, of course, will also be pressured by the increasing presence of profit-making insurers administering a government funded program). Anyone exceeding their annual cap should have considered that before getting sick, now shouldn’t they?
But the State of Florida, which has no income tax, and thanks to repeal of that awful death tax on estates of multi-millionaires, has rapidly declining revenues from that source, has a huge incentive to cut costs, damn the consequences. This is precisely the same pressure that will be felt at the federal level, as soon as everyone realizes just how important a component of it is medicaid (around 10%, give or take, of the budget, as is, give or take, the medicare program).
This is what compassionate conservatism is all about, boys and girls. Prosperity with a purpose and all that.