From the 13 member Republican Health Committee that became the Senate version of Obamacare repeal, there was a cut of $770 Billion over 10 years for Medicaid. (And no matter what anybody says, it is a cut.) Senator John Thune, the #3 Republican in the Senate, is from my state (South Dakota) and is one of those members who wants these cuts. I believe that both of our Senators from South Dakota are not doing what is best for our state, just looking out for their party. Why? Take a look at how this will hurt the population.
During Fiscal Year 2013, South Dakota ranked #4 in the percentage of federal dollars as their general budget. 39.0% of the South Dakota General Budget was due to federal funds. So here we are with our United States Senators arguing that we need to have Medicaid funds slashed for the entire country. I agree that we need to cut some federal spending, Medicaid spending is not one of those things that need to be cut. In fact, it is the level of Medicaid spending in South Dakota that has allowed the economy not to follow the budgetary problems of Kansas and the failed experiment of the GOP economic arguments of lower and in some circumstances, no taxes being levied against businesses and individuals.
Talk to the people of rural South Dakota, not those in towns and cities of 15,000 or over for population. They will tell you that the economy isn’t working. They will tell you that prices keep rising, but their wages are not. They will tell you that people and businesses are not investing in their towns. They want to know what our representatives are going to do to help with their economic plight. How they are supposed to fend for their families and loved ones, while working two jobs that pay under $10/hour. They want to know how they can have a community that has enough nurses and doctors for the hospitals and nursing homes that are in that community. These cuts will not help.
Imagine that the Nursing home in your community is one of the top 5 employers in your town. You know what business gets a majority of their funding from the government, including Medicaid? Nursing Homes. You take $77 Billion in funding out of the budget for Medicaid, guess who has to make either cuts or charge more? Nursing Homes. Guess where families have to pay over $6,500 on average to have their elderly family members taken care of in small communities? You guessed it, nursing homes. Now for a family who has the husband and mother working 60 hours each week at $10/hour, they receive $1,200 per week before taxes. A month would bring in $4,800. Tell me how they are supposed to live and pay for their family members stay in the nursing home for a month? I would say government assistance. Now you are taking away some of that assistance. Where does the money that is supposed to help come from? The state of South Dakota? The state passed a state tax on internet sales because they needed more revenue this past year. So I don’t think that the state has enough money to make up what the Medicaid cuts will leave on the table.
It is crazy to think that politicians are willing to see lower-income Americans struggle even more while the wealth gap will increase by their own policies to help wealthier Americans keep more of their own money. But that is where we are. Senator John Thune sold out his own state to do the national GOP’s bidding. That goes for Senator Mike Rounds and Congresswoman Kristi Noem. Unfortunately, there will not be any backlash from the political class here in South Dakota. We are a true red state and cannot get past “culture war” issues like abortion. Otherwise, we might have a congressional delegation in Washington that looks out for their constituents. Not politicians that know they are safe from the voters.
Let me put this out there right at the beginning. I am going to come across as a dick in this post. I don’t care. We Americans are stupid about lots of things. We love mixing alcohol and guns. We love all the scandalous personal details about celebrities. We believe politicians about how they care about the average American. We believe that bigger equals better. And the final thing that I am going to mention here is this: we donate money to help offset the costs of people who get cancer. That is probably the stupidest thing that I have written here. Why? Because it doesn’t do anything to fight this scourge of a disease.
Cancer has been around for over 2000 years. The ancient Greeks are the first to label cancer. It is believed that the Ancient Egyptians also were afflicted with cancer throughout their history. The treatment for cancer has changed and evolved since then. And yet, it is a disease that we have not been able to solve because of it’s ability to be benign, interact with our blood, and attack the body from the inside. Technology is helping us figure out this disease and yet, now we might have the cure for some forms of cancer be pushed further into the future due to cuts in scientific research by the United States government.
And while the fight for funding through the government needs to have high importance, there is also private funding that needs to be increased. And that is where we need to focus. Let me ask you something? Do you know of a family member who has died from cancer? I do. I know 5 of my family members that have died due to cancer or complications that came from the disease. I know that none of my family members had fundraisers to help with their medical costs. And that is fine. And yes, I do begrudge those that have fundraisers held for their medical costs. And I think that those who give funds to those fundraisers are throwing their money away. (Told you that I am going to be a dick.) In fact, you stupid idiots need to figure out something. You are just allowing this disease to kill more people.
Let me give you an example. I lived in Jamestown, ND for 16 years. The Relay for Life organization used to be huge there. For a town of 15,000 people, the organization used to have their Relay for Life attended by over a thousand people. The fundraising used to be over $10,000 per year easily. And then something happened. People started to wonder why the funds raised didn’t stay local. The community started to wonder why the American Cancer Society needed money to go to their headquarters and why they didn’t see what their money was going to. So, R.M. Stoudt, the local Ford Dealership, decided that they would do a 5k run for a fundraiser and all funds would go to people in the local community to help defray their costs associated with the cancer that they have. That is great. They raise thousands of dollars for those people. Guess where none of that money goes? Cancer research. So while the Relay for Life fundraiser might raise about half of what it did back in it’s heyday, some of that money goes towards research to cure this disease. While the run from R.M. Stoudt does none of that. Let’s look at what happens in 20 years. The R.M. Stoudt fundraiser does nothing to figure out a cure, but the ACS fundraiser does. If you want to eliminate cancer, which one do you support?
It is time for Americans to stop being idiotic and figure out that we need to fund research that will eventually lead to a cure for cancer. If we continue to to do the tribal thing that Americans do, we will allow more of our fellow Americans to die because we are worried more about our town or area instead of the entire population. And this problem isn’t a local problem. Yes, it might mean that some people in our communities will have a little bit more problems with their financial situation. But people in fly-over country shouldn’t care due to the voting patterns that we see there and the politicians that they vote for. The time has come to eradicate this disease. The only way we do this is if people stop worrying about being butt hurt and financing the research.