by Max Brantley
U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin is Twittering today about his visit to Arkansas Children's Hospital and the amazing work they do there. Wrapping himself up in sick children today instead of U.S. troops for a change.
Children's IS wonderful.
If only Griffin hadn't voted last summer to gut the Medicaid program without which Arkansas Children's Hospital couldn't exist as we know it. It's almost wholly dependent on federal government money and some state and local tax funds. Under the GOP budget Griffin supported, guaranteed Medicaid coverage would have been over. Medicaid would have become a Band-aid block grant program. It would have been cut by $800 BILLION over 10 years. Said a House Democratic committee report at the time:
Other changes proposed by House Republicans would allow states to eliminate coverage for seniors, individuals with disabilities, children, pregnant women, and others currently enrolled in Medicaid. These changes would have a profound impact on Medicaid’s ability to provide health coverage to millions of Americans.
In the 2nd congressional district in Arkansas, which Rep. Tim Griffin represents, these
* Reduce coverage for 14,000 dual eligible seniors and individuals with
disabilities who rely on Medicaid to supplement their Medicare coverage or pay
their Medicare cost sharing.
* Jeopardize nursing home care for 2,300 whose expenses are paid by Medicaid.
* Impair the health care of 80,000 children, including 3,300 newborns each year,
who receive coverage under Medicaid.
* Cut payments to hospitals for 24,000 emergency room visits paid for by Medicaid
* Cut payments to hospitals for 8,200 inpatient visits paid for by Medicaid each year.
* Reduce jobs and hurt economic growth by eliminating $1.6 billion in Medicaid
In short, admire Children's Hospital now, Congressman Griffin. Because when you're done eviscerating its major source of support, the sight won't be nearly so inspiring.