I’m not sure I understand the furor here.
President Bush encouraged governors Monday to support his call for changing the tax code to help more people buy private healthcare insurance, but did not address their pleas to increase funding for a healthcare program that insures millions of children of the working poor.
Bush avoided the question. Except, not so much.
“I’m looking forward to working with Congress on health care. I firmly believe … that states are often times the best place to reform systems and work on programs that meet needs,” he said.
I don’t think he believes, or at least his actions do not support that statement. However, his statement in this context is correct. National reform is necessary, but in the opposite direction from what I suspect the governors want. Sure, it’d be nice to get all of the benefits of covering people for your state without paying the bill yourself, at least not directly. (I’m ignoring the public vs. private debate for the moment.) But that’s not happening without taking from one to give to another. If it’s appropriate at all, the state is the highest level where it should be done with this issue.
Essentially, it comes down to this statement, but understood through reality instead of wishful thinking:
Gov. Jon Corzine, a New Jersey Democrat, warned that the administration’s budget promised illusory savings. “You end up paying for this in other ways — uncompensated care, emergency rooms,” Corzine said. “This is pay me now or pay me later.”
Every spending decision faces the same test. The only issue at stake is who is willing to face that truth. Gov. Corzine should look at his own budget rather than pawning blame onto the Bush administration.