You are here



Policy areas: 
Rick's thoughts: 



Medicaid is for poor people. Not all poor people, just some poor people. Quite strange. Actually, now that we have Obamacare, Medicaid is for all poor people. I suppose that's strange, too.


As you might expect, rich people have figured out how to give poor people the worst medical care in the country. Yawn. Worse even than the care people with no insurance at all get. Yikes! Once again Scott Atlas gives you the details.


Now there is probably nobody in America who will support letting poor people die on the streets. Except me. Oh dang that water's hot! But hold your horses a bit before you turn the burner up to boil. I do not support letting poor people die on the streets, I support the government letting them die on the streets. In which event I am entirely confident the private sector will step in and do something about it.


Just like they did in 1900! History is on my side, not yours.



Government charity drives out private charity. Suddenly it's not my problem any more, it's somebody else's. The government's problem. Washington's problem. The Republican's problem. Rich people's problem – especially the tight butt rich people who don't care about the little guy.


But not mine. Not mine to worry about, not mine to do something about, not mine to rally the neighbors to help me do something about.


Somebody else's problem. All I have to do is sit at home in front of my 199 cable channels and complain that somebody else – I don't even know who it is – hasn't fixed that problem yet. Get mad, but not get going.


Not my problem.


But wait a minute now. If I cancel Medicaid, how's the average poor working stiff going to get health insurance? How about this idea – buy it.


From his paycheck. From a paycheck big enough to pay for rent, food, clothing, transportation, education, and still have enough left over for health insurance (and then some – a small but tasty piece of that good ol' American pie).

We could just give poor people money, rather than free health insurance. Then they could buy their own health insurance, and then they would get the same excellent health care the rest of us get. Doctor can't tell which one of us is poor and which is not if we all just hand in a health insurance card from one of the many reputable companies selling them (if Doctor wants to make a WAG, she'll guess I'm the poor one, from the way I smell). Instead of second class citizens getting third class health care poor people would be … just like you, and just like me. Plain ordinary citizens needing something cut out of our innards so we can live to go to work another day.


Oh I can hear you screaming now. But they won't buy health insurance! They'll go to the track and bet on the wrong horse! They'll smoke and drink and whore around and get the clap and then get sick and they won't have any health insurance.


OK by me. Cause I'll let 'em die on the street … JOKE!! Dang if you have no sense of humor whatsoever what keeps you wantin' to get out of bed each morning?


Besides, I have tons of confidence in poor people deciding to buy health insurance. You know they're just like you and me, except they're poor? No you do not know that, because you've never actually met one. You've never ridden the Greyhound bus on a 24 hour road trip. You've never set one foot for one minute in an urban ghetto (unless it was on a tour you paid $200 to take and you had a Buddhist monk as your guide). Your friends aren't poor your relatives aren't poor and the closest you ever got to a poor person was when you were dropping off your fancy clothes at the Starvation Army and you thought you smelled something funny in the air. You even tut tutted to your bridge club about it.



I on the other hand try to make sure I rub elbows with poor people on a regular basis. I do ride the Greyhound bus, and for more than 24 hours at a time, on my way to or back from Guatemala. I live in a neighborhood where the SWAT team bless their militaristic souls shows up on a regular basis. And they're not checking to see if everyone bought health insurance. I shop at Walmart – do you? [No you do not, and you also have the gall to tell me how unpleasant it is to do so, which I find disgusting.]


I won't claim to have spent a lot of time in urban ghettos because Iowa doesn't really have them and it does still scare me to walk naked through the streets of south side Chicago in a business suit. But at least I've done it once – have you?


Let me tell you what I think I know. Poor people are just like you and me, without the money.


They have dignity. They are honest. They work hard. They know how to buy at wholesale. They smell just like me (but that might not be a compliment). And the vast majority of them are going to buy health insurance, when they have the money to do so (it may interest you to know one economic study I read said 25% of the Americans without health insurance earned more than $75,000 per year – why don't you start worrying about them?).


As for the very few people who, even though they have the money, choose not to buy health insurance with it, I say let them die in the street.


Dang I can't believe you fell for the same stupid joke three times in a row! You be slow?


Of course I have an absolute belief that we – you and I and about 297 million other Americans – will pick that drunk dude up and haul him into our garage and call the doctor and drive him to the hospital and make sure he gets the care he needs to live to drink another day.


Because he's a person too. He's a member of our species. Our hearts are so big and warm and illogical that we'll take money out of our own pockets and use it to make things right.


Just like we were doing in 1900. Before the government came along and claimed they were going to do it for us, if only we'd vote for those lying thieving crooks, which we did.


Now – how do we make sure everybody has enough money to buy their own health insurance? You gotta read that somewhere else. I'm on a cross country bus, and the poor fellow next to me is using the electrical socket to charge his smart phone. I gotta get in line. Rich folk like me don't get special treatment on a cross country bus, just because we're writing something important and our netbook is running short on electrons. Fair's fair.


Search the website for Smart Bonus. Then sit back and prepare to be informed.


A short Medicaid video. Sort of a band-aid for the issue ...


Chad Chumley's picture

You say poor people have enough money to buy health insurance. I used to live on $600-650 per month after taxes with 25 hours a week plus going to school full-time. I had a super low rent of $385 utilities, cable, and internet included. What a deal. I don't own a car I use my bike, the bus, walk, or get rides from friends, so I have a small transportation bill of maybe $10 per month. I have a $50 cell phone bill and I had a $130 consolidated credit card bill. That's $575 of the $600-650, just $25-75 left without buying toiletries and groceries. Needless to say that's not enough, so I was getting $150 in food stamps, which still didn't cover all my food and snacks, so the other $25-$75 was spent on toiletries, snacks, and the occasional DVD rental or movie ticket. Therefore, how would I pay for health care? When Obamacare came I was so thankful because now I didn't have to worry about getting sick and not knowing who was going to pay for my hospital/doctor bills. I couldn't pay for health care and a lot of other people are in the same boat I'm in. They can't find a good paying full-time job. However, my doctor/hospital bills were relieved by the hospital due to my income, but that wasn't guaranteed. The bill still comes to my apartment and waits for me to pay for it while I apply for relief. Also, you said poor people drink, do drugs, and whore around!?! That's a pretty broad sweeping remark and I can't think of a reason why someone making such an insensitive remark should be governor. Maybe people without diverse life experience and riches will vote for you, but if you don't have a great come back to my comment I'm not voting for you.

Chad please read my statement again! I definitely did not say poor people have enough money to buy health insurance, I said they would buy health insurance if they had enough money. I also did not say poor people drink, do drugs, and whore around - I said that's what other people say about poor people, and the excuse they give for not 'trusting' poor people to buy their own health insurance (when they have enough money). My actual proposal for a 'Smart bonus' is not yet posted on this website - my bad, look for it soon - but it would supplement your income by perhaps $4.00 per hour - cash, no taxes taken out of it. You said you were working 25 hours a week and going to school full time - that's great, but realistically speaking perhaps you should have been working full time and going to school part time, in which case your pay of perhaps $8 in wages and $4 in Smart bonus = $12 per hour would have been about $480 per week or $1,920 per month. Take out taxes and by your own calculations you could have purchased health insurance with your own paycheck. My Smart bonus explanation will go into more detail and thanks for inspiring me to get it posted sooner rather than later. And when it comes to the voting booth, please vote for me for Senator, not governor ... ;-)
James Rozaklis's picture

Sounds like a good plan but the details about the money need to be answered. How would contrast and compare this proposal to Nixon's Guaranteed Annual Income idea from 1969? Guaranteed Annual Income legislation In August 1969, in the eighth month of his presidency, Richard Nixon delivered a speech proposing the replacement of AFDC with a program that would benefit “the working poor, as well as the nonworking; to families with dependent children headed by a father, as well as those headed by a mother.” In case the point was missed, he continued: “What I am proposing is that the Federal Government build a foundation under the income of every American family with dependent children that cannot care for itself — and wherever in America that family may live.” Guaranteed annual income had arrived. From the margins of economic thought just a generation earlier, the GAI was now at the heart of President Nixon’s domestic policy agenda in the form of the “Family Assistance Plan” (FAP). Nixon_speech_Inline.jpg President Richard Nixon, pictured here months after he publicly proposed his “Family Assistance Plan,” in August 1969. Nixon himself refused to call the FAP a guaranteed annual income, saying that “a guaranteed income establishes a right [income] without any responsibilities [work] …There is no reason why one person should be taxed so another can choose to live idly.” But, despite Nixon’s rhetorical distinction, many conservatives opposed the president’s plan for just those reasons: they worried not only about cost, but also about the creation of a large class of people dependent on “welfare.” Rhetoric aside, the FAP was indeed a form of GAI. The President’s Commission certainly thought so, writing in their letter submitting “Poverty Amid Plenty” to Nixon, “We are pleased to note that the basic structure of the Family Assistance Program is similar to that of the program we have proposed…Both programs represent a marked departure from past principles and assumptions that have proven to be incorrect.” Nixon’s FAP was very moderate: it only applied to families with children (childless couples and individuals were out of luck), included a work requirement for householders considered “employable,” and would not have increased benefits for AFDC recipients in states providing relatively high benefit levels. For a family of four without any other income, the FAP would provide $1,600 (2013: $10,121). But a family that did have income from employment would get a declining amount of FAP dollars until family income reached $3,920 (2013: $24,798). A family of four that had been earning $12,652 in 2013 dollars would have had its income increased through the FAP to $18,725. Ultimately, the vast majority of benefits would have gone to the “working poor,” a significant departure from then-existing programs that denied welfare benefits to those who were employed. The FAP sailed through the U.S. House of Representatives comfortably, 243 to 155, but stalled in the Senate.’s-moment-sun?page=0,2

Thanks for your post James. Unfortunately, as of today (August 20) I have not yet had a chance to write and post my Smart Bonus/Tax plan. When I do, it will include at least a passing reference to GAI, which has never died among the intellectually curious. Just a quick top level note - my plan does involve work, but it is not means tested (so even Bill Gates will get his bonus - if he works). It is also self funding, i.e., the Smart Tax pays for the Smart Bonus, every year. More later ...

Add new comment