The U.S. Supreme Court doing what it does best……

While most of the public debate on the constitutionality of the health reform law has centered on the “individual mandate” – the requirement to obtain government-approved health insurance or pay a penalty – the Supreme Court has also agreed to consider another, far less discussed issue: whether the law’s expansion of Medicaid eligibility might be an unconstitutional federal infringement on state legislative authority.

Not wanting to muddy the waters too much, we’ve decided to try and make some sense out of what is being used as “Medicaid”. Medicaid is a joint federal/state program to provide health care for the poor that is established and operated through a complex mix of federal and state laws.

Established in 1965, a very critical time in American history, the idea was that the federal government would provide matching funds to state-run health programs for the poor. Federal law sets certain eligibility and coverage requirements, and if a state program meets those requirements, federal funds are provided for a percentage of the state’s costs.

There is some state flexibility; for example, certain categories of individuals – for example, children from families with income below certain thresholds –must be covered, and additional categories of individuals may be covered at a state’s discretion, but would still entitle the state to federal subsidies.

Actually the set-up of this operation is pretty good; however, we believe that the flood gates are wide open for mismanagement of funding, accounting nightmares, and more simply, these protocol are just waiting for human nature.

When the Supreme Court hears arguments on the constitutionality of the health reform law next week , it will be taking on one of the most closely watched case in decades. It will also be one of the longest oral arguments in the history of the modern Supreme Court – six full hours addressing at least four separate issues, compared to one hour or so allowed for a typical case.

In addition to the rulings of lower courts and briefs from both sides – the Obama administration on one side, 26 states plus the National Federation of Independent Business on the other – there are 136 amicus briefs (compared to nine for an average case). These are overwhelming provisos, especially in the area of amicus briefs as well as time.

From the states’ point of view, the problem is, how will they come up with the money to cover their share of the cost of health care for these additional people? This question is as easy as pie: the federal government will pay for the entire cost of coverage for those who are newly eligible – but only for the first three years. Furthermore, based on 2009 spending figures, the average state would have to raise tax collections by 34.4% to make up for the loss of federal funds. This sort of tax increase would be economically disastrous, not to mention politically infeasible.

As for us here at The Thinker this is plain lunacy! What our country needs and so desperately desires is for this HUGE government to stop spending. And certainly as evidenced by the current administration, this plea is falling on deaf ears. More assuredly in matters of “clean energy” telling us what light bulbs to use, and if you will please have a look-see at the losses versus gains in the monetary provisions debited and credited.

We are appalled at the ways the legislative branch – Congress – conducted itself when they were still at debating and deal making procedures; moreover, seeing to what lengths the executive branch would go or better still stop at nothing attitude as provided by the Obama administration. We are convinced that if a person seeks to make a legacy on corruption and other similar reckless disregard of the people, then his time is up. “Gone in 60 Seconds.”

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