Confused on budget


Published: Friday, January 28, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 27, 2005 at 9:48 p.m.
I'm writing regarding the front-page article (Jan. 19) concerning our state budget titled "Gov. Bush boosts spending 1.6 percent" that was in The Gainesville Sun.
I am confused. Above this headline are several subheadings, where one stated, "$707 million proposed increase in Medicaid spending." Immediately below this title is a subtitle that includes, "Medicaid cuts included in budget."
Should I send this in to Jay Leno? Interesting, Medicaid is going to increase spending, but also cut their budget? But I was sure that the contradiction would be explained somewhere in the article.
The following are more quotes from this article. "Gov. Bush . . . cut some health care services for the poor, ... and a $707 million increase in Medicaid, the health care program for the poor."
Then to clarify, page 5A goes on to report: Column 1: "... Hospital lobbyists estimated the budget represents $1.5 billion in reduction for
Medicaid. . . ." Column 3: "Bush also proposed some major cuts in the $14.7 billion Medicaid program, including $300 million cut in the Medically Needy . . ."
"Bush also supports more restrictions on the use of prescription drugs by Medicaid patients, which represents another $292 million cut."
So excuse me, I only know how to balance a checkbook.
The total Medicaid budget is $14.7 billion, and a lobbyist estimates that budget will be reduced by $1.5 billion. The governor's numbers add up to at least a $592 million reduction ($300 million for Medically Needy and $292 million for prescription drugs).
Then how in the world is there a $707 million increase in Medicaid spending, per your headline? If the total Medicaid budget cuts are greater than the total Medicaid budget increase, it is a budget cut. Your article leaves me totally bewildered.
If indeed Medicaid is being cut, please tell it just like it is. Government is cutting benefits for the poorest of the poor and giving tax breaks to the richest of the rich.

Mary Glazer,

Gainesville

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