Friday, March 07, 2008

Your (Republican) Government in Action

This story is a couple weeks old, but I wanted to highlight it anyway because it has a tremendous impact on a lot of people--and because it's so typical of how Republicans govern. The Chronicle reports that Schwarzenegger, dealing with an endless fiscal 'crisis' largely of his own making (because he drinks the Norquist Kool-Aid), wants a chunk of the savings to come from Medi-Cal recipients (Medi-Cal is California's need-based medical coverage); bad enough at that, but what's really breathtaking is the cynical way he proposes to save money:

Schwarzenegger has proposed a plan to make most enrollees of state-sponsored medical care fill out more eligibility paperwork as a means of saving money - a move that critics say is insidious.

Administration officials expect the rule will result in 122,000 people being dropped from the rolls next year, saving the state $92 million - money that the governor's staff has already counted against the state's deficit.
The plan is to make Medi-Cal recipients prove eligibility four times per year, instead of annually. Anyone who's unable to deal with the paperwork gets dropped--and voila! Savings!

To sum up, they're proposing a plan that
  1. serves fewer people, while
  2. increasing administrative costs, and
  3. sloughing the cost of treating those people to the cities and counties, which are
  4. in even worse shape than the state.
This is the Republican approach to government: take something that's working and make it not work. More bureaucracy is fine, but only if it gets in the way. Make it not work; cut it because it isn't working; cut it until it really doesn't work; then cut it again because it isn't working.

All that's missing in this picture is a healthy dose of graft, and I'm sure it's there if you look for it.