The legislative conundrum Wisconsin finds itself in is having repercussions nationwide, as the usually superficially dry topic of balancing state budgets is the news item du jour. With each passing day that taxpayer money is spent with the executive-legislative standoff in that state comes news of just how far these bodies can go in an effort to ostensibly correct major budgetary deficits.
On the federal level, while the inflammatory topic of union busting as a way to reduce spending may not be the noteworthy issue, the entitlement program — specifically Medicaid — sure is fair game. New House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has made it no secret that he plans to tackle entitlement reform, right on the heels of the House motion to repeal President Obama’s reform law. While some GOP lawmakers have mentioned privatizing Medicare as a possible deficit spending reduction tactic, the much easier nut to crack seems to be Medicaid.
The complex nature of funding Medicaid on the state level makes it that much more vulnerable to legislative cherrypicking; according to a new poll, fewer Americans oppose making cuts into Medicaid as they do with respect to the other two biggies: Social Security and Medicare. Forget about making selected cuts in health reform spending for a moment; another avenue of GOP austerity measures looks like it’s about to become available.