healthcare funding
Employee Benefits

What’s ‘Fair’ Anymore?

Den Bishop
Den Bishop
Senior Advisor

It’s State Fair time in Texas. That means corn dogs, car shows, and Texas vs. Oklahoma football. Although it may also include clowns and carnival rides, this blog is about actually about healthcare (and what’s “fair”) and not the State Fair.

Politically-motivated news, AKA fake news, makes it virtually impossible to make meaningful legislative progress on major healthcare items like Medicaid. Here’s an example using the recent Graham-Cassidy Bill. Please understand, I’m not stating any opinion on whether Graham-Cassidy was awesome or awful.

A key element of the legislation was federal funding for Medicaid to the states. CNN featured the following graphic illustrating how unfair it is that some states, like California, are giving up billions of dollars to other states like Texas. Some news outlets even speculated the funding changes were politically motivated to punish Democrat-leaning states and reward Republican-leaning states.

How could it possibly be “fair” to take billions of dollars from one state to give it to another state? Grab your poster board and go find a TV camera to voice your outrage!

Let me offer a different perspective. Maybe the current situation is not “fair” to begin with. A comparison of our four largest states shows wide variability in the current federal contribution per citizen to each state. How can this current funding discrimination be “fair”? Should taxpayers in Texas and Florida take to social media and to the streets to protest how their tax dollars are being confiscated and re-directed to other states?

Healthcare is complicated…and expensive. The politicization makes it virtually impossible for the average voter and taxpayer to interpret. Therefore, most people seem to be defaulting to follow their political lines on healthcare.

Is it “fair” that one state gets more than twice as much money per citizen from the federal government to fund Medicaid than another state? Is it “fair” that legislation re-directs billions of dollars of current funding from one state to another state? You see, “fair” is all about your chosen perspective…or how the “facts” are presented to you.

The answers to our current healthcare funding mess will never be found in what is “fair,” because “fair” can be so politically manipulated from either side. Maybe we could get legislation to outlaw “fair” from our language and replace it with “acceptable”?!

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