Henry Waxman, Liberals, and Medicaid
The Hill reported last night that liberals are calling for the massive Medicaid entitlement to be left unchanged in talks related to the fiscal cliff. For instance, House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Henry Waxman said that “If you want to boil it down to one message: Keep your hands off the Medicaid program.”
This is an interesting statement from Mr. Waxman, given comments he made nearly four years ago. In early 2009, during the markup of the “stimulus” bill, then-Chairman Waxman opposed an amendment to prohibit millionaires from receiving Medicaid benefits, on the grounds that “I think it is highly unlikely that you are going to find millionaires who would like to go on Medicaid.” Unfortunately, however, he never explained why he thought that millionaires – who of course can afford to buy most any type of health insurance – would turn down Medicaid coverage, given that the program provides “free” coverage of medical treatments without charging premiums or other cost-sharing.
In other words, Henry Waxman wants to leave untouched an insurance program for millions of poor Americans even though – by his own admission – those who can afford insurance categorically reject Medicaid. By any reasonable standards, that’s not “reform.”