As we move forward to discussions of the debt and deficit — remember, it’s not a “fiscal cliff” — many will still be looking to entitlement reform as a way to reduce federal spending. The ‘easy-picking’ here, in my opinion, is still Medicaid. Why, you ask? Because if you’re looking to slash a major federal entitlement program the only one that doesn’t constitute a “third-rail” in politics is Medicaid. The program primarily serves a demographic that doesn’t vote in particularly large numbers, rarely devotes time or money to candidates who support it, and isn’t represented by well-organized mega-advocacy groups. For conservative politicians that might as well be a giant bullseye.
Now this facet was very much evident in the election. If you’ll recall the biggest policy difference in the campaign was the issue of Medicaid’s future; whether to expand it under the Affordable Care Act or drastically reduce it by block-granting the program to the states. That Republicans are still looking to enact reforms (re; pay less, offer less, cover fewer folks) in the Big Three entitlement services (Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security) in order to reduce federal spending (please notice I didn’t say “reduce the deficit) then we might continue hearing/reading a lot of Medicaid delegitimization. To that end I’ve whipped-up a simple “How-To” to recognize in a process where the program is delegitimized in order to bypass objections to reducing the program: