A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Danger on the Horizon from the Palmetto State

Danger on the Horizon from the Palmetto State

August 18, 2005

How much damage will be done to Medicaid, the basic health program for poor Americans, during the Bush era? The worst may be yet to come. Check out this Associated Press article on the South Carolina proposal for a new financing structure for its Medicaid program. South Carolina's Governor Mark Sandord proposes personal health accounts for Medicaid clients. If an individual needs more care than their personal health account allows, tough luck. Apparently, the state's wacko libertarian governor never read the book, When Bad Things Happen to Good People.

Princeton health economist Uwe Reinhardt, a German immigrant who spent his childhood in wartime Nazi Germany, talks about the essential difference he observes between GIs in World War II and many people in American society today. In WWII, whether a soldier survived or got his head blown off had nothing to do with skill or smarts, and everything to do with luck. This created a sense of social obligation and generosity of spirit. Too many students he teaches today, he observes, were born on third base and believe they hit themselves home runs. They think they deserve their privilege and to hell with everyone else. How else to explain the arrogance and obliviousness of these dangerous people?

Believe it or not, our only hope is that the Bush Administration will say no to this nonsense. We'll keep you informed...