The Unfolding Drama of Obamacare

by Rabbi Philip Lefkowitz

When I was a child growing up in New York, there were certain constants in my life. One of them was the DeKalb Avenue subway station in downtown Brooklyn.

The DeKalb Avenue subway station was the convergence of six subway lines prior to their crossing the river into Manhattan either by the Manhattan Bridge, or through a subway tunnel under the East River. From the time I was a little boy through my teens, that station was under renovation. It is no surprise that the largest passenger railroad in the world, the New York City subway system, which transports millions of passengers each day, is a losing proposition.

President Obama came into office with a new vision for our society – a fairer and more even approach. His first target was medical care. Obamacare is hailed by its supporters as the key to providing quality medical care for the least fortunate in our society.

In December the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services sent out a public notice to all Medicaid recipients; those who are the specific target of Obamacare. They advised the recipient that in July 2012, the Save Medicaid Access and Resources Together, or as it is commonly known, the S.M.A.R.T. Act was passed. Rather than providing additional benefits, Medicaid recipients were told their benefits would be reduced further. Here is the list.

This is but a prelude to the more severe cuts that will have to be made when Obamacare is in full swing as it will require that thousands upon thousands of additional Illinois citizens be placed on the Medicaid roster.

Let’s consider just one of the new limitations; that of allowing for no more than four prescriptions per month per adult or child. In considering this restriction keep in mind that the average person receiving Medicaid is on Welfare existing on about $675 per month and food stamps. There are many people that take more than four prescriptions per month. Can you imagine waiting for some public employee, not a medical practitioner conversant with your medical needs, to approve your doctor’s note justifying the additional prescriptions? What is the individual to do in the meantime – employ the services of a faith healer? He/she will simply go without the medical care that our President claimed would be provided for them through his legislation.

When Illinois was considering how to cut its budget. I sent letters to both my Assemblyman and State Senator begging them not to touch Medicaid. I gave them several examples of ways I felt millions of dollars of taxpayer’s money are wasted. They responded they were committed to protecting Medicaid. Here is a suggestion I gave them for consideration.

Our school systems spend a fortune on busing children to school. Busing on a grand scale began when the issue of integration in northern cities was considered. It was noted, as for example in Chicago, many cities were de facto segregated. The idea was to bus children across town so that classrooms would reflect the makeup of the entire population moving integration forward. However, its major accomplishment was to accelerate the middle class exodus to suburbia resulting in the center city becoming ever more the domain of poorer minorities and diminishing the desperately needed tax base to support city services. Today, many children in the center city must awake in the early hours of the morning to ride the bus to school only to arrive at school lacking the necessary sleep to function.

I suggested this program, a failed program, should be reevaluated and perhaps even curtailed. Obviously the idea of touching this “sacred cow” was not on the agenda of any politician.

And how about the large number of government offices and departments that exist which serve little or no purpose? Recently, it was found, that an agency in Illinois, with staffing and offices, served no purpose whatsoever.

It is obvious that politicians, individuals who are not motivated to demonstrate a profit, to streamline agencies or to curtail agencies that serve little purpose or in some instances no purpose, are not the individuals to etrust with improving medical care, our medical care. The tragic result of Obamacare is already evident. Those whom it was created to aid will suffer more deprivation when it comes to full fruition. It is still not too late to stop this runaway train before it crashes.