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Gov. Chris Christie: Earn $6,000 A Year? No Medicaid For You!

If you live in the state of New Jersey and are earning $118 a week, congratulations!

According to Gov. Chris Christie, you have escaped the bonds of poverty and no longer are in need of the state’s Medicaid program.

Never mind that $118 a week is but a fraction of the poverty line as defined by the United States of America. Pay no attention to the fact that New Jersey battles California for the mantle of having the highest cost of living of any state in the nation.

Chris Christie, everyone’s favorite no-nonsense, “tell it like it is” governor, has decided that you can manage quite nicely on this paltry sum while remaining fully capable of paying for your own medical care.

Sound like a joke?

It’s not. And it is difficult to imagine anything less humorous. Under the Christie plan, adults with a family of four who earn more than $6,000 a year would no longer qualify for the state’s Medicaid program. Currently, the cut-off to qualify is $30,000.

Think about that for a moment.

A single mother raising three kids on a weekly salary of $118 will no longer be eligible to take advantage of the medical social safety net should she fall ill.

I can hear my conservative friends rising in chorus – mom should have thought about that before having all those kids she couldn’t afford! Maybe she should have. If only there were some place these women could turn to for family planning advice so that they might avoid this problem.

But wait – there is such a program in New Jersey. Or, to be more precise, there was such a program in New Jersey. It turns out that women’s clinics are disappearing from the New Jersey landscape as Governor Christie uses the budget pen to wipe out women’s health programs that might also provide abortion services as a small part of what they make available to women so badly in need of their health care and counseling services. This, despite the fact that no state or federal taxpayer money went towards paying for any such abortion services long before Christie began his assault on women’s health.

In his last budget, Christy sliced $7.5 million from family planning clinics – a cut his new budget proudly continues. As a result, health and planning services so vital to low income women are becoming very hard to find in New Jersey- not to mention the many other states where Governors are using the budget to enact their social, anti-abortion agenda’s.

What do we call powerful people when they pick on the weakest among us?

We call them bullies. And Governor Chris Christie exemplifies the modern-day bully. Is it any wonder, then, that the GOP sees Christie as the man they would so gladly follow into the 2012 election battle?

Christie’s proposal to cut over $500 million from the state’s Medicaid program would not only affect parents earning far too little to support their families. Some of the deepest cuts would leave seniors, who require full-time, in-facility nursing home care, literally out in the cold as the funding that supports their ability to get the medical attention they need disappears.

I suppose these elderly can move back into the homes of their children – many of whom are the ones earning over $6,000 a year, but well below the national poverty line, who will no longer be able to care for their own health needs let another find a way to pay for the care of their sick parents.

There is some good news in this otherwise bleak story.

Come 2014, when the federal government steps in to play a larger role in financing the state Medicaid programs (they already pay for about half of the costs), it will be illegal for these people to be denied care. Accordingly, all these folks need do is see to it they do not get sick between now and 2014.

How hard can this be?

As New Jersey U.S. Senator Robert Menendez put it, “The state is effectively telling these families to wait until 2014 to get coverage again. Unfortunately, there is no
such thing as a waiver for getting cancer.” Certainly, some deal can be cut between man, woman and God resulting in that cancer scheduled to show up next year holding off until 2014 when care will be available.

And how much damage can uncontrolled diabetes really do when untreated for a three year period? So, maybe you lose a couple of toes as the diabetes ravages your body.

As Chris Christie would no doubt remind you, forfeiting a few digits for the common good of wealthy millionaires for whom Christie continues to cut taxes, is a small price to pay.

After all, those tax cuts might just result in your getting a better job in the future – assuming you’re still alive.

And if you aren’t, at least you will die in the knowledge that you will have given your life to improve Chris Christie’s chances of becoming President of these United States some day.

So, at least you’ve got that going for you.

By: Rick Ungar, The Policy Page, Forbes, June 12, 2011

June 13, 2011 Posted by | Affordable Care Act, Class Warfare, Conservatives, Consumers, Elections, Equal Rights, GOP, Gov Chris Christie, Government, Health Care, Health Reform, Ideologues, Ideology, Medicaid, Middle Class, Planned Parenthood, Politics, Public Health, Republicans, Right Wing, Seniors, States, Taxes, Under Insured, Unemployed, Uninsured, Wealthy, Women, Women's Health, Womens Rights | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Teaparty Republican Governors Seek Big Cutbacks To De-Regulate The Environment

Gov. Paul LePage wants three million acres of North Woods forests opened to development. Weeks after he was sworn in as governor of Maine, Paul LePage, a Tea Party favorite, announced a 63-point plan to cut environmental regulations, including opening three million acres of the North Woods for development and suspending a law meant to monitor toxic chemicals that could be found in children’s products. Mr. LePage said workers’ and businesses’ interests should be defended “with the same vigor that we defend tree frogs.”

Another Tea Party ally, Gov. Rick Scott of Florida, has proposed eliminating millions of dollars in annual outlays for land conservation as well as cutting to $17 million the $50 million allocated in last year’s budget for the restoration of the dwindling Everglades.

And in North Carolina, where Republicans won control of both houses of the Legislature for the first time in 140 years, leaders recently proposed a budget that would cut operating funds to the state’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources by 22 percent.

In the past month, the nation’s focus has been on the budget battle in Washington, where Republicans in Congress aligned with the Tea Party have fought hard for rollbacks to the Environmental Protection Agency, clean air and water regulations, renewable energy and other conservation programs. But similar efforts to make historically large cuts to environmental programs are also in play at the state level as legislatures and governors take aim at conservation and regulations they see as too burdensome to business interests.

Governor LePage summed up the animus while defending his program in a radio address. “Maine’s working families and small businesses are endangered,” he said. “It is time we start defending the interests of those who want to work and invest in Maine with the same vigor that we defend tree frogs and Canadian lynx.”

When Republicans wrested control across the country last November, they made clear that reducing all government was important, but that cutting environmental regulations was a particular priority. Almost all state environmental budgets have been in decline since the start of the recession, said R. Steven Brown, executive director of the Environmental Council of the States, which works with environmental agencies across the country. What has changed this budget season is the scope and ambition of the proposed cuts and the plans to dismantle the regulatory systems, say advocates who are already battle-hardened. “Historically, we’ve taken pride in being a leader in environmental quality in the Southeast,” said Molly Diggins of North Carolina, director of the state chapter of the Sierra Club. “But there is now such fervor to reduce the size of the environmental agency. The atmosphere is the most vitriolic it’s ever been.”

David Guest, the managing attorney for the Florida office of Earthjustice, a national environmental law firm, said Governor Scott’s budget was “the most radical anti-environmental budget” he had seen in two decades of environmental work. Comparing Mr. Scott’s proposed changes with those of Florida’s previous Republican governors, including Jeb Bush, he called them “a whole new world.”

The strategies have been similar across the affected states: cut budgets and personnel at regulatory agencies, prevent the issuing of new regulations, roll back land conservation and, if possible, eliminate planning boards that monitor, restrict or permit building development.

In New Jersey, for example, Gov. Chris Christie, another favorite among Tea Party loyalists, has said the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act, which preserves more than 800,000 acres of open land that supplies drinking water to more than half of New Jersey’s residents, is an infringement on property rights. Mr. Christie has moved to shift power from planning boards and government agencies to administrative judges, political appointees who, environmentalists say, tend to rule more often in favor of developers’ interests.

In Florida, Governor Scott has asked to cut staff members to 40 from 358 at the Department of Community Affairs, which regulates land use and was created to be a control on unchecked urban sprawl. Lane Wright, a spokesman for Governor Scott, said the cuts would enable businesses to grow again in Florida. The governor “does care about the environment,” Mr. Wright said, “but feels it is more important to get people back to work.”

In the first round of federal budget fights, Republicans appear to have won some of what they sought: $1.6 billion in cuts from the E.P.A. and $49 million from programs related to climate change. But they fell short in other areas. Daniel J. Weiss, director of climate strategy at the Center for American Progress, a liberal Washington policy group, said that by his calculation the Republicans had sought nearly $10 billion in cuts related to efficiency and renewable energy but got less than $3.7 billion. “The Democrats successfully defended investments in clean energy,” Mr. Weiss said.

The eventual outcome at the state level is much less clear. Florida and North Carolina’s budget battles are in the early stages. In New Jersey, where Governor Christie has been in office since 2010, he has held up stricter drinking water standards, saying he is waiting for further research by the E.P.A. And yet, in Maine, Governor LePage’s agenda has engendered such an angry response that the newly elected Republican majority in the State Legislature seems to be backpedaling from many of its strongest components. Mr. LePage’s proposal to open the woodlands has not yet been introduced as a bill. And this month the Legislature made a point of enacting a ban on a chemical detected in sippy cups. All but three legislators voted for it. (Mr. LePage has questioned whether the science is strong enough to support such a ban.) Adrienne Bennett, the governor’s press secretary, acknowledged that Mr. LePage had not gotten everything he wanted, but pointed to some victories. The governor just signed a law that will reduce restrictions for building on sand dunes, and his proposal to provide incentives to businesses to police themselves on a variety of environmental regulations is still in the Legislature. “‘We will continue to move forward,” Ms. Bennett said.

By: Leslie Kaufman, The New York Times, April 15, 2011

April 16, 2011 Posted by | Budget, Businesses, Congress, Conservatives, Energy, Environment, Environmental Protection Agency, Global Warming, GOP, Gov Chris Christie, Gov Paul LePage, Gov Rick Scott, Governors, Greenhouse Gases, Lawmakers, Maine, Politics, Regulations, Republicans, State Legislatures, States, Teaparty | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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