Last night, The Washington Post reported that the Trump administration would seek cuts to Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Medicaid, a joint federal and state program, provides financial assistance to low-income medical services consumers while SNAP is known for providing financial assistance to low income consumers with difficulties buying food.
As with any budget proposal offered by any president, this proposal gives the general public and the bond markets an idea as to the priority Mr Trump places on social spending, apparently very little. I expect bond markets overall to see cuts as an attempt on the Trump administration to be fiscally disciplined. So far this morning the bond market is flat with more attention being paid to Congress’ probe into whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to disrupt the November 2016 elections.
Left leaning congressmen and advocacy groups are making the collectivist arguments that Mr Trump and the GOP are heartless; putting at risk 10 million consumers who may find themselves kicked off the Medicaid rolls over the next ten years. Government has a duty to provide these services and people will suffer without them, they argue.
Their argument demonstrates not only naivete but a disregard for the resiliency of individuals and community. It is not government’s role to be a health care provider. Government’s role is to provide the day-to-day operations of the State. The State has an interest in maintaining civil order including authorizing the political packages i.e. health care, necessary for keeping the barbarians from knocking down the gate.
And the services that government offers are one dimensional and sub-par such that if they went away, fewer people would miss them than assumed. Take for example food stamps. The monthly maximum allotment for one person is $194. In reality, individuals may not even get half that amount per month, relying on family members, church groups, other civic groups, and friends to fill the gap where income cannot. While some may argue that something is better than nothing, I find that argument to be empty; a half-ass justification of political packaging designed to get votes rather than actually aiding people.
Collectivists will argue that the best solution is increased funding for Medicaid and SNAP. In other words, increased funding for their insurance company friends that administer Medicaid for the states; more money to the commercial banks that provide clearing services for food stamps; and more money to the program managers with the administrative state that set policy for Medicaid and SNAP.
A better solution is one that is community-based without a lick from the government. Churches, families, individuals, and other social agents can fund preventative care facilities and small hospitals or clinics that serve patients within their geographical area, i.e. West End Atlanta, Oakland City, Westview. In addition, these social agents should fully fund students from their community who commit to completing nursing, medical, or pharmacy programs and working directly in these communities. Such commitments would reduce the costs of supplying medical and wellness programs.
This is not a panacea, nor does this recommendation address a community’s short term needs, but if health care costs are to be kept under control in the long run, then a community-based plan where the community is invested in the performance of health care providers to the point where health care costs fall is the viable option. The administrative state’s half ass “scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” approach does not work.