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Medicaid Spending Passes Education Spending

Welcome to the welfare state...

WASHINGTON - States now spend more on health care for the poor than they do on elementary and secondary education, a policy group said Thursday in its annual review of efforts to deal with the growing problem of the uninsured. The states spent 21.9 percent of their revenue on Medicaid in fiscal year 2004. Elementary and second education consumed about 21.5 percent of states' budgets. Higher education came in at a distant third, 10.5 percent.

"Today, Medicaid accounts for the largest and fastest growing category of state expenditures," said the State Coverage Initiatives program, which provides technical support to help states broaden health insurance coverage.

Consider those numbers for a moment: We are now spending more money on entitlements for people who can't (or won't) work to afford their own health care then we are on preparing our children so that they can work and earn money in the job market. Which isn't to imply that we need to spend more on education. Clearly, the quality of education in this country is not tied to funding problems. Rather, this is just an indication of our skewed priorities.

I mean, talk about solutions that create more problems. For the last couple of decades our politicians have passed entitlement after entitlement to "help the poor/disadvantaged" while steadiliy increasing the tax burden on Americans who are able to make their own way in the world without government assistance. Yet as that burden has increased more and more Americans are in need of government assistance.

Soon, if this trend continues, we'll all be working just so that we can hand our paychecks over to bureaucrats for re-distribution back to us in the form of entitlements like "free" health care and "free" prescription drugs.

You can read more from Rob Port at SayAnythingBlog.com

Comments (17)

The founding fathers were r... (Below threshold)

The founding fathers were right. only tax payers ought to be allowed to vote. net tax payers.

Correct me if I am wrong bu... (Below threshold)

Correct me if I am wrong but when illegals come to this country and get healthcare and other free handouts isn't this putting a burden on the States? The system is broke and we need to bulldoze it away and start fresh. When a person from another country can come into this country because they didn't want to stick around and fix their own country's problems, they come here and get a FREE handout and cause more problems for us. I have no problem with people coming over here and putting into the system, but to come here just to get a free ride is another thing. There is too much fraud in systems like Medicaid and not enuff checks and balances to make it work correctly. Unfortunately, it isn't just the people from other countries fault. It is the by-product of a bloated and gutless beauracracy and the loopholes they create and intentionally make.

I am not a pessimist by nat... (Below threshold)

I am not a pessimist by nature but I had come to the conclusion in the past 2 years that the economics of our health care system including insurance and delivery of care to the insured as well as uninsured will sort itself out only when the system collapses. As worrisome as Social Security is, the reluctance to address that issue does not offer any optimism on the willingness to address the more challenging health care problem. And where the government is concerned, the more burdensome an issue is, the more reluctance there is to address it head on.

In California education spe... (Below threshold)

In California education spending is about 49% of the state budget, or about $50 billion each year... and we still have a k-12 system that places in the bottom 5 of the country.

This seems like a great way... (Below threshold)

This seems like a great way to ensure that we need to keep spending more on the poor. I realize that more money spent on education won't necessarily make a difference, but if we're more worried about the poor we have now than we are about our future generations, we're probably going to end up with a lot more poor people to take care of.

I am a paramedic for the ci... (Below threshold)

I am a paramedic for the city of New York and the immense waste of Medicaid funds that I am witness to every single day, would boggle the mind. "The Poor" use the 911 system like their personal limousine service and the ER like their primary care physician at all hours of the day and night. How about a $450.00 cab ride to the hospital because you have a cold or a yeast infection. I could write a book.

shugli,Illegal ali... (Below threshold)


Illegal aliens actually get their health care paid for by Federal dollars, therefore they are not considered a burden by local/state politicians.
This is the root problem in border state politics.

The medicaid roles are swelling due to employers saving money by not covering their employees with health insurance. As a small business owner, I too would like to save the $7,000/month I spend for my employees healthcare & put it in my pocket, were it belongs. The taxes I would gladly pay on that money to provide the same healthcare service.
Plus my employees don't care about the cost to me, it's only the take home pay that matters to them. Don't get me going on the christmas bonus entitlement!!!

Taz, sorry to cont... (Below threshold)

sorry to contradict you, but every illegal I treat (and I treat them everyday) has a NY State Benefit card in their wallet. They also have a valid drivers license and usually do not speak English. I don't know what percentage the Feds pick up, but I do know that NY has one of the biggest Medicaid bills in the US( if not the biggest)

New York state is spending... (Below threshold)

New York state is spending $2,165 per resident on Medicaid, more than twice the national average.

Brian,Your definit... (Below threshold)


Your definition of illegal is different than mine. Your illegals are documented, by the cards they carry. I'm talking about undocumented, illegals who get Federal Emergency Access dollars to pay for their care.
This is Federal money, paid to hospitals for the work/care you have rendered (I am assuming you are a physician). You probably would never see that money & write it off as free care, unless you have a contract with your local hospital to get reimbursed.

I may be comparing apples t... (Below threshold)

I may be comparing apples to your oranges here, I apologize.

Taz, Just remem... (Below threshold)


Just remember where the feds actually get their money. From the people who live in the STATES.

Illegal is illegal. these p... (Below threshold)

Illegal is illegal. these people do not pay taxes, yet collect all the benefits of citizenship. Their children use the schools and they have babies at no cost. In NYC, it is illegal to ask anyone their citizen stauts when they apply for city services, obtain a drivers license or they commit a crime. Mayor Bloomberg passed that law last year. By the way, I am paramedic, not a doctor. Being documented seems beside the point here, when we are discussing costs to taxpayers.

Shugli,I understan... (Below threshold)


I understand your point; but my distinction is the budgets (state vs fed). The state politicians don't care how much money is spent, as long as it does not affect their budget. That'
s why they won't roundup the illegals & deport them...it would take money from the state budget to do it & most politicians see it as a Federal issue.

Illegal is illegal, yeah I get your point too. But I am willing to bet that Brain's illegals actually do pay some form of taxes (albeit, less than they take in entitlements); but the 'undocumented illegal' gets paid in cash & there is absolutely no tax monies collected; therefore becoming a larger burden on the budget.

Taz, I am going to... (Below threshold)

I am going to say it real slowly this time. They are here illegally. IF they work, they get paid cash, they DO NOT pay income tax. Many do not work at all, because in NYC, you do not have to provide proof of citizenship to collect public assistance, including food stamps, which they use to buy alcohol and cigarettes. I pick them up in the street EVERYDAY and they are stinking drunk unconcious. I am not saying all illegal immigrants are alcoholics. But even the hardest working of them pay NO TAXES.

Brian,This is my l... (Below threshold)


This is my last post on this subject because now I am sure our definitions of the argument are not the same.

Not all illegals are paid in cash, some working illegals have bank accounts, deposit checks, they even have social security numbers (some of which are stolen or issued by gov't employees who can't ask questions about citizenship).

Next time you get your pay stub, look at the Medicare witholding line (pssst...it's actually a tax), also FICA, etc.

I do agree to a degree that some illegals are drunk, drug addicts & total leeches on the Welfare roles, however some illegals do perform jobs others in sociey won't do, all the while paying taxes (although not submitting a W2, their employers withhold, so they "don't break the law", it's looking the other way don't ask/ don't tell policy).

I used to feel the same way about illegals as you do, Brian, however when I began to understand why politicians won't act to seal the boarders (which is their constitutional duty) I have seen it as less of an emotional issue & more of an economic one.

Have a great rest of the weekend, bless you for the work you do in the trenches...good job.

What you should all actuall... (Below threshold)

What you should all actually know is that that report is flawed based on the way those percentages of state budget are calculated, and a Congressional Research Service report released in June of 2005 confirms my assertion. Because the federal government provides on average 60% of total funding for Medicaid, the total amount a state budget sets aside for Medicaid is not equal to the percentage of the total budget that the actual state spends on that program. Calculated as state-funded Medicaid spending as a share of total state-funded budgets, Medicaid only comprises about 13% of the budget, while elementary and secondary education account for about 26% and higher education 13%. A report indicating that states spend more on Medicaid than education is not only misleading, but dangerous as well.






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