Rick Renfroo, Job Creator, And Runyan, The Libertarian Wonder Boy, Take On Medicaid Expansion
[The scene, again, is a washroom at Goldman Sachs. It's late at night. Renfroo and Runyan are just coming out of one of the stalls when washroom attendant Selig Cartwright comes upon them. He's breathing heavily...]
Sorry, Job Creator and Wonder Boy. [Pant, pant]. I saw the Job Creator signal flashing in the sky, the Sign of the Dollar, and got here as fast as I could. I see you two are already dressed for action. Dressed like ordinary folks concerned about creeping socialism and intent on stopping the beast. What’s your target this time?
Glad you asked, Selig. After all, it’s people like you that country clubbers, Fortune 500 CEOs, Wall Streeters, and Wonder Boy and myself are working so hard to protect. This time we’re off to alert Americans about one of the horrors of Obamacare —it’s plan to get an additional 17 million poor people, mostly children, covered by Medicaid health insurance.
What could possibly be good about that, Job Creator? But Medicaid programs are run by the states, aren’t they? And aren’t a number of Republican state governors already promising not to accept federal funds to bring these people into the insurance pool — after the Supreme Court said they didn’t have to?
Yes, Selig. There’s a problem, though. They might not get away with it. Some of the arguments we use effectively to keep government from aiding the old, the young, the sick, the hungry, are a tougher sell this time around.
Why is that?
Well, Selig, we usually talk about the extra cost to state taxpayers of helping people like this. You get people riled up by getting them to identify themselves as just ‘taxpayers,’ they automatically feel like victims when any new or expanded government program is suggested. If they thought of themselves as just citizens providing help to other citizens, help they might one day need themselves, or as contributing to a program that leads to a healthier, more productive population, what we say might come across sounding silly. Even cruel.
Cruel, Job Creator? Who could possibly think that? But really, won’t this Medicaid expansion actually be costly for state taxpayers?
Unfortunately for us Selig, it won’t. When it first goes into effect all its extra costs are born by Washington. Thereafter, Washington still pays almost all the extra costs. And what down-the-road state outlays there still are will lead to less crowded emergency rooms, already insured state residents won’t see their own rates go up for ER free-riders, and the overall health of the state’s population improves, too. Of course, we still do have the government bureaucrats card to play.
Even I’ve never understood that argument, Job Creator. I mean, anyone who administers any kind of public or private program, who sits in front of a computer all day, who does clerical work of any kind, is a ‘bureaucrat.’ Why do so many voters go glassy eyed when you say ‘government bureaucrat?’
Because we’ve taught them to think that way, Selig. Repeated it over and over and over again, and since the other side never gives the obvious response, it sticks.
Well, played. Job Creator. Well played. Who could not respect people like you who actually know how to shape words for their own benefit, while their opponents always let them get away with it? So the government bureaucrat argument will work again. Right?
Sadly, not so much, Selig. Every state already has a Medicaid system in place. And even expanding it with a relatively few new employees to provide health insurance for 17 million needy Americans, mostly children… well…even our friends on a.m. radio will have trouble ranting that one down.
Though they’ll try.
Of that I have no doubt, Selig. Happily, however, though my own usual efforts here are facing sinister socialist obstacles, Runyan, the Libertarian Wonder Boy, has arrows in his own quiver that can’t fail to hit their mark. Tell our friend Selig about them, Wonder Boy. Let him in on your pitch.
Happy to do so, Job Creator, though I can’t take the credit for most if it. To be honest, Selig, I will simply be ditto-ing some recent comments by Bobby Jindal.
The governor of Louisiana?
The same, Selig. On a recent Fox program Jindal said — I have it written out here because it’s so powerful — “What makes this country great…is that we’re not dependent on government programs. It seems to me like the President measures success by how many people are on food-stamp rolls and government-run health care. That’s not the American Dream.”
Wow, Wonder Boy. That is powerful! So all those people receiving food stamps and needing government healthcare help are not in this position because of a recession that began in the last Republican administration, but because President Obama likes it this way, it being a sign of his own personal success?
And the people receiving this aid are happy because it’s their own vision of the American Dream, the way they really want to live?
Right again, Selig.
And cutting people off food stamps and access to insured health care is therefore not cruel at all but tough love?
You’ve almost got it all, Selig. Just throw in Emerson and self-reliance, the way I plan to do, and…
Let’s see if I can do that, Wonder Boy. I learned about Ralph Waldo Emerson in high school. He said self-reliance was a great part of our national character. But I don’t remember him saying that means we have no responsibility to help others, too.
Of course you don’t remember that, Selig. The teacher in high school who taught you about Emerson and self-reliance never mentioned that part of his philosophy. Know why?
No, Wonder Boy. Why?
Because she was a member of a leftist teachers union. Keep that in mind while Job Creator and I go off to save the country. And while we’re away, clean up the mess we left in that stall while changing clothes — or you might wake up soon living your own version of the new American Dream.