Had eight hours in the car yesterday and along with listening to a mystery, I thought a bit more about the upcoming Federal Medicaid cuts of $10 billion. If one can get past the observations that financially the Federal government is out of control and that pervasively Bush's and Congressional priorities favor the wealthy over everyone else, the Medicaid cut number is not that big a deal.
Nationally, the Medicaid cuts would total $10 billion over five years. If New York kept its Medicaid spending flat for five years (an unlikely prospect, right?), all by itself it would spend $450 billion about half of which would be Federal funds. Robert Samuelson points out that with projected national five-year Medicaid spending of over a trillion, the proposed cut is no more than one percent. Symbolically meaningful perhaps, but not much else.Of course, small numbers don't mean that the policy choices won't be stupid.