11.03.2009

We're really shocked about this?

Wisconsin isn't in compliance with federal legislation on Medicaid:
Since June 15, more than two-thirds of childless applicants with virtually no income - the highest priority cases - haven't received food stamps within the federally required seven days, state figures show. Nearly two-thirds of all the childless adults seeking food stamps haven't received them within the required 30 days. [...]

Officials from the state Department of Health Services met Monday with federal officials to brief them on the delays and said they would seek to resolve the most pressing backlogged food stamp cases by the end of this week.
This is, of course, a completely unacceptable solution, but hardly shocking. Given the state's financial outlook, it should be far from shocking that the state doesn't have the money to hire the number of people necessary to process the flood of applicants.

But this has an important lesson for the broader health care debate, because the number of people applying in Wisconsin for assistance now with this program is a drop in the bucket compared to the number of people who will need to be enrolled in any kind of federal health care scheme, public option or no. And given than any legislation coming out of Washington, D.C., will raise costs of health insurance (ridiculous assumptions by left-wingers aside). There will also need to be a bureaucracy created -- because, let's also remember, none exists now -- to cover all of these enrollees in perpetuity.

Wisconsin is a lesson in the huge -- and often unanticipated, at least by proponents of universal health care legislation -- costs of government intervention into the market.