Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Immoral Budget: What the Republicans' 2005 Budget Means to Us

What the 2005 Budget will do, if passed by the House (the Senate passed it last night with Dick Cheney casting the tie-breaking vote):
  • Eligibility for long-term care by the elderly under Medicaid toughened, ending the health care support that many middle class elderly and their families who support them need (living in a nursing home, for instance is long-term care)
  • 12.7 billion dollars worth of student loans CUT (and this at a time when tuition to public schools is hugely inflating due to state budget cuts)
  • 6.5 billion dollar cuts in Medicare, will effect doctors who will receive decreased reimbursements on healthy patients; an increase in payments on sick patients won't cover the loss. This measure may further encourage doctors not to treat older patients.
    • And notice that certain industries were not asked to step up to the deficit decrease, the already highly-profitable industries of managed care and pharmaceuticals
  • Increases the work requirement of poor families (as the Boston Globe says of this measure: "It's a worthy goal. But it is unrealistic given the illness, poor skills, and other barriers that many families face.")
  • Drasitc increase in the amount of money (co-pay) the poor will have to pay to see a doctor (which will discourage doctor's visits for preventive care and result in more expensive intensive care)
  • PLUS any deficit reduction that the bill affects will be rendered irrelevant if Republicans pass the tax cuts--which are worth more than the 40 billion that was cut in this budget--which they plan to put on the legislative agenda next year
Articles on the budget:
"Federal budget cuts would hit state's elderly"
"Indiana's poor may pay more to see doctors"
"Hard Hearts in Congress" (Boston Globe Editorial)

You can call your U.S. Congressman and ask him or her to vote NO on the budget. This website will help you find their number in Washington. It's very easy, you just say your name and that you would like your Congressman to vote no. They'll probably ask for your address just to make sure you live in the District. My call to Mark Kirk was probably futile, but your's might not be! Especially if you have a moderate Democrat or Republican as your representative.

Also, I'd like to note that 44 out of the 44 Democrats in the Senate voted against this awful bill. This is why it pays to have a Democrat in Congress over even a moderate Republican.


tiro said...

I think it is more effective to argue that it is a policy disaster than an immoral action.

Morals are not so powerful as interests are.

Elaine said...

That is highly debatable. We live in a country with a relatively large active religious population: people are obviously moved by moral ideals of some sort, so that's an important language to speak in. Plus, it is immoral, and it's a policy disaster because it's immoral. I don't see why the two are mutually exclusive.