Gov. Steve Beshear said a week ago he was open to eliminating Kentucky’s income tax. Let’s just hope he hasn’t been talking to Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, whose Revenue Department has some incredibly bizarre tax collecting rituals in their no income tax state.
Ohio might be the next state to go for expanding its healthcare spending well beyond its ability to pay for it, Cincinnati.com reports:
“If the entire plan proposed to Strickland by a special task force he appointed last year is adopted, it would cost $1.5 billion to $2 billion a year and likely would require new taxes. He hopes to cover about 500,000 of the 1.3 million uninsured Ohioans by the end of his first term in 2011.”
And you can’t blow up a state budget with new entitlement spending without bringing up Massaschusetts. This quote from the same story should be instructive:
“In Massachusetts, for example, projected costs for a 2006 plan aimed at universal health coverage have doubled to about $1.35 billion a year, but the plan has covered about 350,000 more people.”
“”It’s unbelievably exciting but it’s killing us financially,” said Jim Conway, senior vice president of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Boston, who spoke to the Greater Cincinnati Health Council in June.”
It’s way past time to dial back government involvement in health insurance contracts. The Nanny State watches people sign all kinds of legal agreements on their own every day without breaking the bank expanding government programs. Who decided health insurance contracts needed such intense regulation and subsequent taxpayer subsidization?
Either way, if Ohio follows through on this it may help Kentucky in regional economic competitiveness rankings.
I’m starting to wonder why so many people are going to such great lengths to ignore healthcare policy issues these days.
Take, for example, The Boston Globe. The paper has to earn Wednesday’s prize for greatest effort to ignore the impact of healthcare in a news story:
“Massachusetts, which earlier this decade had the lowest percentage of eligible residents using food stamps, now has the fastest-growing food-stamp program in the country, a dramatic turnaround that state officials attribute to soaring food prices and a simplified application process.”
“As food and fuel costs continue to rise, the officials say, people who would not normally use food stamps are turning to the federal program to make ends meet.”
“”I think low-income families are faced and will be faced this winter with the difficult choice of eating or heating a home,” said Patricia Baker, senior policy analyst for the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, a nonprofit organization that advocates for the poor.”
So we are supposed to be prostrate with grief because of rising food prices (maybe) and a massively liberalized food stamp application process (definitely) preceded a huge increase in new food stamp recipients in a state that is running itself to ground passing out “free” health insurance to all comers, regardless of how sick they are?
It’s folly to ignore the role of socialized medicine, which is attracting and insuring low income people to the state who then sign up for food stamps.
Good thing Gov. Steve Beshear had to back up on his health insurance giveaway campaign promises. Of course, though, here comes Barack Obama.
Gov. Steve Beshear has to be watching Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland eat into his state’s House Republican majority by hiring away GOP incumbents in close races.
“Gov. Ted Strickland might have found a new formula for helping his fellow Democrats capture control of the Ohio House this year: If you can’t beat ’em, hire ’em.”
“Strickland already has been plenty helpful to House Democrats, particularly in their fundraising efforts. Now, in a move that has angered Republicans, he’s taking a new tack by hiring away GOP lawmakers in key districts.”
“In one day, House Republicans lost candidates in two swing seats that suddenly became much more competitive. Democrats need a net pickup of four seats to take control of the chamber for the first time since 1994.”
Legislators voted themselves a powerful incentive to become susceptible to such an offer in 2005.
An interesting national debate may be on the way regarding helping states with ballooning Medicaid spending by expanding Medicare to include nursing home care.
Kentucky already makes purchases of Long Term Care Insurance tax deductible and last session made a very strong move toward incentivizing purchase of a policy to save taxpayer money.
As tempting as it might be to some to shut down a sector of the insurance industry and replace it with benevolent government bureaucrats, someone might wish to point out that efforts to save money by making government bigger often doesn’t work out so well.