Homage to Medicaid
Congratulations for being elected governor. I am writing to you in hopes that you are willing to listen to a point of view that conflicts with with your own. I believe that you may be assuming too much based on your election as governor. Do you really think that those who voted for you were enthusiastic about every policy you espoused during the campaign? I think it is possible that many who opposed same sex marriage may have voted for you based solely on your position on the issue. Many Medicaid recipients who will be impacted by your plan to roll back Medicaid expansion may well have voted for you based on their dislike for the President and their dislike for gays. You should at least be astute enough to test public opinion on the Medicaid issue. You may find that once the public understands that their friends and family are going to be impacted, your presumed mandate on the issue will evaporate.
I recently saw a photo of you and your entourage holding a very public prayer after you were elected governor. I had two responses:
1) I hope you pray for all the people you plan to kick off Medicaid.
2) I am reminded of Matthew 6:5 – “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.”
The Democrats in congress made a huge mistake in drafting the Affordable Care Act. They called for a penalty for people who are not insured. Instead, they should have given a tax deduction to people who are insured. This way, nobody could say that the government is forcing me to buy health insurance. Today, we don’t have a groundswell of complaint about “the government is forcing me to buy a house”. That is because we get a tax deduction on mortgage interest that helps people buy homes. If instead, we had a penalty for people who don’t buy a house, there would be no end to the howling.
However, the net effect of having a tax deduction for those who do something and a penalty for those who don’t do something could be exactly the same.
Next time someone complains that people shouldn’t be forced to buy health insurance, ask them if they should be forced to buy a house. Then explain to them that the net effect of the penalty for not buying insurance is the same as if we had come up with a revenue neutral tax deduction for those who buy health insurance, and that there are multiple precedents for tax deductions.