Inquiring minds want to know: How does Governor-elect Bill Ritter plan to pay for his socialized health insurance mandate? Inquiring minds include many respected members of his own Democrat Party:
Sen. Bob Hagedorn, D-Aurora, called Ritter’s proposal a “budget buster” and Rep. Bernie Buescher, D-Grand Junction, head of the Joint Budget Committee, said it could work, “but only if you don’t do the math.” Hagedorn said it would cost an estimated $240 million a year just to cover the 120,000 children in Colorado who don’t have insurance. “It’s a budget buster, but we have to decide on our priorities.
That’s not doing anything but funding those 120,000 kids and getting them enrolled,” Hagedorn said.
He said providing health care to all uninsured Coloradans could cost an estimated $1.8 billion a year, more than half of the proposed budget next year for the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, which also is responsible for providing mental health programs, the Old Age Pension Health and Medical Fund, the Children’s Basic Health Plan, the Colorado Indigent Care Program and home care providers.
Buescher said Democrats, who control the House and Senate, can help Ritter keep his promise to provide health care, but only if the state can get waivers from the federal government to shift money from other mandated programs and provide vaccinations and preventive care that would eventually trickle down in cost savings.
Good intentions simply are not the same thing as good policy. While Ritter – among the first ostensibly “pro-life” candidates to support government funding of Planned Parenthood – may want to do good for the people of Colorado by his lights, he also has to remember whose support he needs to get re-elected in 2010.
In the real world of scarce resources and competing goods, though, politicians (especially those who support big government programs) have a hard time keeping most of the promises they make. In Colorado’s current state, this “redoubtable” blogger takes comfort in this truth.
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