Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Memo to Susana: "The Feds" is Us

I've heard some unsettling new rhetoric being bandied about regarding health care reform. I first noticed it in Governor Susana Martinez' announcement that New Mexico will be expanding Medicaid under Obamacare.
“If we were to expand Medicaid the federal government would pay a higher portion for these individuals' healthcare, and the state would actually save money,” Martinez said. 
Later, during media interviews that questioned her decision, she emphatically repeated, "The FEDS will pay 100 percent of this during the first three years. The FEDS will pay for 100 percent of this."

I've since heard this same rhetoric from other parties regarding Obamacare, in general. One woman I spoke with said, "The state [health insurance] exchanges will be good because the feds will help with the costs" (emphasis mine).

Well, here's a newsflash for Governor Martinez and, um, everyone else: "The Feds" is us. It's every taxpayer in the United States.

It's always scary to hear this insidious type of rhetoric invading the public discussion of such an important issue as healthcare reform. This single, subtle phrase -- the feds -- has been subverted from its original meaning (the federal government) into a description of a discrete and apparently magical entity, a body that somehow exists separate from each one of us.

But in fact, "the feds" is us, in a very literal sense. It's important for people to remember whenever the term "the feds" is uttered in reference to money, it refers to every single taxpayer in America. It's that simple.

In expanding Medicaid under Obamacare, Governor Martinez apparently believes it's OK to redistribute the wealth of other Americans into New Mexico, because that's what it boils down to. If, as she says, "the feds" will pay for 100 percent of our state's Medicaid expansion, that means taxpayers in New York and California, Georgia and Oregon, and all states in between are paying for it.

But it also means New Mexico taxpayers are paying for this Medicaid expansion. Just because our tax dollars are being run through Washington first (hence, becoming "the feds' money") doesn't make it any less a fact. 

Please, my fellow Americans, don't be fooled by this rhetoric. 

Copyright © 2013 Libertarian Party of New Mexico. All rights reserved.

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