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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Priorities and Process

Medicaid Dental.

Reporters have written the story. The editorial boards have opined and the columnists have weighed in. The E-mail from the advocate community has become angry and bitter. Candidates are rushing to make political hay out of the issue.

This blog posting is not addressed to any of them.

I’m writing this post in case some citizen, somewhere, wants extra perspective on what happened in the Special Session last Wednesday. Maybe a college student, or archeologist, millennia from now, will unearth the hard drive to this computer and use it to reconstruct early 21st Century events.

To anyone out there that fits that description, I say: Thank you for being curious enough to look for truth beyond the sound bite.

The Utah Legislature put $100 million new dollars into health and human services this year. Of course it’s not enough. Human needs are as endless as they are heartbreaking.

This year we dealt with a long list of worthy requests. Many that were prioritized much higher than Medicaid Dental were unfunded or under funded. Examples:

* Drug Courts
* Adoption caseload growth
* Foster Care growth
* Higher reimbursement rates for medical providers
* Utah Birth Defects Network
* Additional caseworkers for DCFS
* Mental health services

As human beings we are inclined to say yes to every worthy request. As policy makers, we have to make necessary tough decisions. Declining to fund aspects of the Medicaid dental program was one of those tough decisions.

Because of this prioritized waiting list, significant confusion over the funding mechanism and questions over who would actually benefit from the allocation - plus the fact that future federal Medicaid funding is uncertain at best, we felt it would be irresponsible to promise funding to the optional Medicaid dental program.

Our hearts do go out to those who are suffering and will not have state aid for their problems.


Blogger Kim said...

Gratuitious obsfucation at it's worst. "Tough decisions," "our hearts go out,"....more of the same
condescending blather designed to placate a fed-up electorate.

6/09/2006 8:31 AM  
Blogger The Senate Site said...

Our hearts do go out to those in pain and many of us are putting our personal money where our mouth is.

You can believe what you want. This was an honest blog post. It's sole purpose was to give information to those who want to understand the reasons behind our decision. No one is trying to obfuscate, and it's pretty obvious that no one has been placated.

6/09/2006 11:04 AM  
Anonymous tom said...

I'm with Kim on this one.

Sounds like more disingenuous double talk designed to divert the attention of the Hoi Polloi.

No matter how much perfume you put on this pile of crap, it still stinks. In a time of billion dollar surpluses, fifteen million dollar garages for themselve's, more millions to the This is the Place park, these so called moral representatives turned their back on very real human suffering amongst the poorest amongst us.

I say shame on the whole sorry lot of the moral midgets.

Seems to me like Governor Huntsman is one of the last Republicans in state government with any dignity and love for the people.

6/09/2006 12:08 PM  

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