Sunday, June 13, 2004

How are Haley Barbour’s parents doing
Here’s an ethical question. When a member of a political party does something repulsive, how fair is it to tar the party with their slime? Answer: depends who they are. The more local a politician, the less fair it is to call their actions representative of the party as a whole. Are we all agreed on this? A city council member in Pocatello, Idaho is not a spokesman for the Republican Party of the United States. How about the former Chairman of the Republican Party of the United States now the governor of a state? I think it’s fair to hold the whole party responsible for his most disgusting actions.

Which brings us to Haley Barbour.
How's this for compassion? Mississippi has approved the deepest cut in Medicaid eligibility for senior citizens and the disabled that has ever been approved anywhere in the U.S.

The cut in eligibility for seniors and the disabled was the most dramatic component of a stunning rollback of services in Mississippi's Medicaid program. The rollback was initiated by the Republican-controlled State Senate and Mississippi's new governor, Haley Barbour, a former chairman of the national Republican Party. When he signed the new law on May 26, Mr. Barbour complained about taxpayers having to "pay for free health care for people who can work and take care of themselves and just choose not to."


The 65,000 seniors and disabled individuals who will lose their Medicaid eligibility have incomes so low they effectively have no money to pay for their health care. The new law coldly reduces the maximum income allowed for an individual to receive Medicaid in Mississippi from an impecunious $12,569 per year to a beggarly $6,768.

To make this clear, the former head of the Republican Party thinks $564 is enough for senior citizens and invalids to live on and pay medical bills each month. I’d like to see him, as a middle-aged man in good health, live on that amount for three months without help. I would pony up the money for him to do that, just to hear him explain at the end of that three months how that is enough for—say—my 80 year old mother to live on and pay for her cancer medication. I have the first $564 right here. Let him find place to live.

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