One week ago, Members of the House of Representatives stopped spending taxpayer money and began a six-week vacation. Unfortunately, they came back five weeks early.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has summoned Members back to Washington to debate an extension of Medicaid and education bailouts. The House will vote today to extend these bailouts enacted in the stimulus bill last year. If passed, the bill—which overcame a filibuster in the Senate last week—will then go to the President for his signature.
Both bailouts will delay states from making necessary structural changes to place Medicaid and state education on realistic fiscal ground. The education bailout costs $10 billion and is geared toward saving jobs of unionized teachers and administrators.
The Medicaid bailout costs $16 billion and delivers a disproportionate amount of aid to states with the most bloated programs. For instance, New York has nearly 30 percent of its citizens enrolled and spends in excess of $18,000 per person in poverty. Texas, in comparison, with 5 million more people and 1 million more individuals in poverty than New York, has a much smaller Medicaid program.
The bailout is not geared toward high poverty states; it is geared toward states in the most fiscal trouble, largely because of Medicaid profligacy. So New York will receive two-and-a-half times more money from the Medicaid bailout than will Texas.
Both bailout extensions will reward states that mismanaged their Medicaid programs. The House should not allow the American taxpayer to be the payer-of-last-resort for mismanaged state programs.