Saturday, September 8, 2012

Medicaid as a Middle-Class Entitlement

Eric Patashnik notices a key strategic move that former president Bill Clinton employed in his Democratic National Convention speech: He recast Medicaid as a program for the middle class, rather than for the welfare population.
A lot of folks don’t know it, but nearly two-thirds of Medicaid is spent on nursing home care for Medicare seniors who are eligible for Medicaid,” Clinton told the crowd. “A lot of that money is also spent to help people with disabilities, a lot of middle-class families whose kids have Down syndrome or autism or other severe conditions.”
Patashnik has previously done research that looked at Clinton’s Medicaid rhetoric, and he says this isn’t an isolated take: Clinton has put no small effort into recasting Medicaid as a program that serves the middle class. In 1995, when he faced off against House Republicans over a government shutdown, he regularly grouped Medicaid with Medicare, environment and education — government programs not tethered to income levels.

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