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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 03/ 2/2011

Haley Barbour's Medicaid fantasy

By Glenn Kessler

"We have people pull up at the pharmacy window in a BMW and say they can't afford their co-payment."
--Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, Feb. 27, 2011

Haley Barbour's colorful remark, made to The Washington Post while attending a National Governors Association meeting in Washington this week, recalls Ronald Reagan's description of a "welfare queen" living high on government largess, driving a Cadillac. In Reagan's telling, she bilked the government out of $150,000, when the actual case involved $8,000.

The Mississippi Republican, who is mulling a presidential run in 2012, worked for Reagan as director of the White House Office of Political Affairs in 1985-1986. Could Barbour have picked up some tips from the Great Communicator? Reagan's anecdote ultimately was deemed exaggerated and aberrational, but it created a lasting image that fed popular distrust of the welfare system.

Let's see if there is any basis for Barbour's claim.

The Facts

Medicaid provides health coverage for about 53 million lower-income Americans and is a shared responsibility of the federal government and states. The federal government picks up, on average, about two-thirds of the costs and sets the minimum rules for which groups of people must be covered and what medical benefits must be included.

Governors of both parties say they cannot afford the current Medicaid system because of the fiscal difficulties stemming from the recession. It was in this context that Barbour made his comment. He is pleading for the federal government to allow states to have the flexibility to expand cost-sharing measures with Medicaid enrollees -- a point he also made in an appearance Tuesday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

"The problem is, federal regulations do not allow a provider to deny services to an individual on the basis of the individual's ability to pay. In addition, no cost-sharing measures can be imposed on many Medicaid enrollees, including children," Barbour told lawmakers.

Two days of inquiries to spokesmen for Barbour yielded no evidence or explanation for his statement, so we can't tell if his assertion about the BMW-driving patient is based on a documented study, an anecdote from a single pharmacist or a figment of Barbour's imagination. We presume we would have received an answer if there were something to back up the statement.

At the hearing, Rep. Janice D. Schakowsky (D-Ill.) asked Barbour about the BMW statement, but two witnesses said he did not provide an explanation. Unfortunately, there is no transcript yet available of the hearing.

Let's try a little bit of deductive reasoning.

Mississippi provides some of the lowest Medicaid benefits to working adults in the nation. A parent who isn't working can qualify only if annual family income is less than 24 percent of the poverty line. Working parents qualify only if they make no more than 44 percent of the federal poverty level. Seniors and people with disabilities are eligible with income at 80 percent of the poverty line. Pregnant women do better -- they're eligible with income up to 185 percent of the poverty level.

Translated from the federal poverty guidelines, that means a working Mississippi couple with one child could earn no more than $8,150 a year and still qualify for Medicaid, seniors and people with disabilities could earn no more than $8,700, and a pregnant woman could earn no more than $20,000 a year.

Meanwhile, the German-engineered BMW is a pretty fancy car. Edmunds.com says that new BMW car prices range from nearly $30,000 to more than $120,000. That seems out of the price range of someone making $8,000 a year.

Checking used BMWs worth less than $5,000 in Mississippi on Yahoo Used Cars finds 10 available within 300 miles of Jackson, the state capital -- but all carrying lots of miles. Four grand, for instance, would get you a 1996 BMW 328i with 237,000 miles on it. But even that, for many of Mississippi's Medicaid recipients, would be half a year's salary.

The Pinocchio Test

Given that you have to be rather poor to get on Medicaid in Mississippi, it seems highly unlikely the state has many Medicaid recipients driving around BMWs, even used ones. Note that Barbour said "we have people" -- suggesting this is not a rare event.

The failure of Barbour's aides to provide any documentation for this claim is rather suspicious. At least Reagan's anecdote was based on a real, though poorly remembered, newspaper article. We would welcome further explanation from Barbour, but until then this qualifies as a whopper.

Four Pinocchios

(About our rating scale).

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UPDATE, 1:45 PM:

We now have a transcript of the Schakowsky-Barbour exchange at the congressional hearing but it does not shed much light, except Barbour suggests "providers" have reported this problem to him.

       REP. SCHAKOWSKY: Thank you.
       Governor Barbour, you have talked about the reason that infant mortality rates, et cetera, are up in Mississippi, and also, you were talking about -- in terms of Medicaid, "we have people pull up at the pharmacy window in a BMW and say they can't afford their co-payment."
       Well, first of all, let me say that the federal government has made fraud in Medicare and Medicaid a top priority and has for the first time really put resources into doing that. But would you say that Mississippi uniquely -- because other states -- it's really provider fraud that is the bulk of the fraud that goes on in Medicare and Medicaid, asking for reimbursements of care that really wasn't given, or prescription drugs.
       Would you say in your state it's your people who are defrauding, the big problem in fraud?
       GOV. BARBOUR: Congresswoman, in -- my understanding is that that's not considered fraud, that in the federal rules if a person says they can't afford to pay the co-payment, the provider can't challenge it. And, of course, the sad thing about that for us is the state doesn't save any money. It's the provider who gets shorted. But I report that because providers report it to me. It is not my understanding that that is, quote, "fraud" under the federal law. We have really done a good job of tamping down on our error rate, including fraud.
       REP. SCHAKOWSKY: So you do -- so it's really people trying to cheat the -- you know, it's not -- it's not about -- it's about poor people or not-so-poor people trying to cheat the system that's been the big problem?
       GOV. BARBOUR: We certainly had a problem at one time of people who were not eligible being on the program, and it was the state's fault because the state was not following the rules. But do we have provider fraud? Yes, ma'am, we do, and we also have waste from providers as well.
       REP. SCHAKOWSKY: Which all of us I think agree we have to go after.

By Glenn Kessler  | March 2, 2011; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  4 Pinocchios, Haley Barbour, Health  
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Comments

Barbour. GOP. Liar.

Posted by: hairguy01 | March 2, 2011 6:36 AM | Report abuse

Why does Haley (Super Size That) Barbour have a girl's first name?

The doctors told his parents they weren't sure.

Posted by: bigmac1810 | March 2, 2011 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Big Fat Liar

Posted by: areyousaying | March 2, 2011 7:25 AM | Report abuse

I've asked this before and I'll ask it again: why do people keep voting for these idiots?!?

Posted by: drazen1 | March 2, 2011 7:26 AM | Report abuse

You blew this one. Badly.

If a guy or gal owns a BMW, but is unemployed, they could qualify for Medicaid in that state - based on low CURRENT income. I know two people who do it here in Idaho. In both cases their unemployment has also expired.

There's a lot of financial pain going on. And it'd been in all the papers. No work means no health insurance. This is not rocket science.

The CORRECT answer to Barber -- which requires no research at all -- is that the driver could be unemployed.

Then, again, Barber's argument was that SOME Medicaid people should be expected to pay a co-pay. It's called looking for solutions. Even if he invented the BMW to be a colorful example, his point is a valid issue about low INCOME but having WEALTH. Then again, he's a Republican isn't he?

So Kessler gets two Pinochios. One for not understanding the issue, thus checking the wrong facts. A second one for wasting his time and ours.

Posted by: LibertyIssues | March 2, 2011 7:51 AM | Report abuse

I'm guessing this comment by Barbour was anecdotal...and probably stemmed from a pharmacist seeing a person in a BMW using their Medicaid card. Likely explanation (from someone - me - who deals in this arena all the time): One of the folks in he family is a drug-dealer...and drove his mom/sister/cousin/aunt/girlfriend to the pharmacy or wherever the Medicaid card was used. It was probably a used BMW, purchased with drug proceeds. I see that all the time, as do other criminal defense lawyers (and prosecutors and police officers) who deal with drug dealers on a daily basis.

Having said that...these anecdotes don't tell the whole story...(part of which is that many people who receive Medicaid do seriously abuse the system, by claiming a disability or by having kids when they can't afford them or in other ways). I'm an Obama Democrat, and realize quite well the amount of fraud and abuse in the welfare/Medicaid system (I mean...who among us would purposefully have a kid when you know you can't afford it...but figure you'll get a "check" to pay for your decision?).

Posted by: juraski | March 2, 2011 7:51 AM | Report abuse

And who is to say that the "Medicaid Recipient" owned the car. They could have taken it on a test drive from a dealership. They could have borrowed their friends car. etc, etc. Gimme da facts, jus da facts ...

Posted by: sitspin | March 2, 2011 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Thank you !!!!!!!!!!!! As we are now going through the Medicaid process - my Mom is in a nursing home due to dementia - I was appalled to read Barbour's statement. His statement reveals a complete ignorance of Medicaid and apparently little interest in the truth. That's very unfortunate considering his role. Thank you for telling the truth about a program that impacts many seniors.

Posted by: Berri | March 2, 2011 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Maybe you should fact check Obama. After all he is the man with the power today. Go back to when he started his campaign for President. You know, the way you did for H.W. Bush and "read my lips..." See what you come up with.

Posted by: nychap44 | March 2, 2011 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Here is just another example of a guy who lacks the basic character qualification to be President of the United States. He is either a pathological liar or an idiot.

America, the world looks to us for guidance. Putting an idiot and a pathological liar in the White House gives the wrong message.

It is so easy to pick on the poor. Why don't we hear about people who are extremely rich and look, can afford their own health insurance, but instead look to medicare to pay for expensive medical services. Also the 90% of corporations who do not pay taxes.

This Barbour not only lacks the good character, he DOES NOT LOOK PRESIDENTIAL. The world is laughing at us with people like Sara Palin running for the highest office in the land. Let us wake up and stop the madness. Barbour, Newt, Palin, Huckabee should be erased from our minds as possible candidates for the Presidency of the US.

Posted by: muffet | March 2, 2011 8:15 AM | Report abuse

"You blew this one. Badly. If a guy or gal owns a BMW, but is unemployed, they could qualify for Medicaid in that state - based on low CURRENT income."

Yup. And food stamps, too.

Yeah, yeah -- facts are mean, racist, sexist, Hitler and homophobic. Cry me a river.

Posted by: BHO_1_TERM | March 2, 2011 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Haley Barbour has stuck his foot in his mouth so many times his mouth is stretched out of shape! When he speaks, it is as though he has a mouthful of marbles!

Barbour badly needs to control his eating AND speaking habits! He may have a girls name, but he is not pretty! UGH!

Posted by: cashmere1 | March 2, 2011 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Oh, just to explain further about seniors and Medicaid. My Mom is going through the Medicaid process. She has a good pension and social security. She had a home and healthy savings account. Because her pension is insufficient to pay her monthly nursing home bill, she must go on Medicaid. To qualify for Medicaid, she can only have $2,000 in assets. Thus her nursing home bills are paid through use of her pension, social security, and savings until she has only $2,000 in assets left. Interestingly, Medicaid would allow a car but then Mom can no longer drive. Once on Medicaid, Mom's nursing home bill will be paid each month with a combination of her pension and social security with Medicaid paying the remainder. Mom will be allowed $40/month for personal use. That money will be used for hair cuts, clothes etc. If the family pays for anything, that is considered a gift and possibly a violation of Medicaid rules. The family must maintain records for Medicaid review. Medicaid can look back for 5 years to determine whether any money was transferred from the recipient to family and this transfer will be penalized. Its not as easy as Mr. Barbour represents

Posted by: Berri | March 2, 2011 8:17 AM | Report abuse

I find it amazing that anyone would be seeking input from the governor of Mississippi about any public policy. Mississippi is one of many southern states that underachieve in dealing with poverty, educating their kids, dealing with health issues, have among the most obese, underedcuated, and hateful people in the United States. Mr. Haley needs to address some of his own problems before he starts telling the feds how to do things. Finally, let it be known that Mississippi takes in more federal money than they contribute. There is something wrong with this picture. Thanks for pointing out the fact that the governor also doesn't mind telling a good lie to make a point to advance his ideology.

Posted by: cdierd1944 | March 2, 2011 8:18 AM | Report abuse

How many times does this redneck cracker have to open his ignorant yap before you people in the "mainstream media" quit writing about his presidential ambitions?
Is there ANYONE in the field of potential 2012 republican candidates who has a lick of sense, or all they all knuckle-dragging goofballs like Palin, Bachmann, and this clown?

Posted by: TOMHERE | March 2, 2011 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Republicans LIE - and Righties never notice.

The Wisconsin protests have been peaceful.
But in an effort to "prove" Wisconsin protestors are violent - last night O'Reilly spoke with a Fox reporter at the Wisconsin capitol WHILE airing a clip of people fighting.
In the background are palm trees. LOL
Palm trees in Wisconsin - who knew?

Posted by: angie12106 | March 2, 2011 8:31 AM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter that he lied. All he has to do is plant a seed in a certain type of voter (read: Fox News watcher) who wants to believe it.

Posted by: sarahabc | March 2, 2011 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Kessler deserves the pinocchios here.

Kessler's inability to verify Barbour's statement doesn't make Barbour a liar, it just means Kessler hasn't got the goods.

It is ENTIRELY conceivable that someone could purchase a BMW, and later fall on hard times -- putting them in a position to qualify for medicaid. The qualification is based on income, not acquired wealth.


Kessler: You get 2 pinocchios for making a claim without any valid data whatsoever.

Posted by: Benson | March 2, 2011 8:32 AM | Report abuse

While I agree with the premise that SOME people cheat Medicaid systems, just as some people cheat all systems, the majority of recipients need Medicaid simply to survive. If Governor Barbour wants to cut Medicaid costs he, and other Governors, should go after the real frauds who are billing states for services they don't even deliver. In some cases real companies don't even exist. They should also do away with corporate welfare programs like "free" cell phones for low income people that cost taxpayers $10 a month and only cost the companies $3. That's where the waste really is.

Posted by: njglea | March 2, 2011 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Someone above touched on the fact that Medicaid rules apply to CURRENT income, i.e. they don't touch on WEALTH. So, if you quit your job or get laid off, you could well have one of these BMWs and pick up Medicaid benefits.

Barbour's main point appears to be that the states by rule can't deny benefits on the basis of wealth, when of course they should. Hardly a whopper there.

Another point is that the income limits apply only to above-board income. Anyone with illegal sources of revenue, e.g. drug dealing, prostitution, human trafficking, has a leg up qualifying for benefits. A good drug dealer can make less than $8k legally and easily own a BMW.

I used to date a girl in a bad part of DC. Her neighborhood had a LOT of nice cars in it. And a lot of people from SE surely qualify for various welfare benefits. It would be naive to believe the two groups don't overlap much.

Posted by: angrydoug1 | March 2, 2011 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Look, in Mississippi a "BMW" is any car driven by an African-American. It stands for "Black Mississippi Wheels". Haley is simply offended that the government pays for medicine for African-Americans who can afford cars. The good old days were so much better and more peaceful, as he keeps telling us.

Posted by: jonawebb | March 2, 2011 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Another example of "I'll say anything to become president." Very presidential. Very statesman-like. Take it elsewhere, Haley. The country doesn't need you.

Posted by: rosjan | March 2, 2011 8:53 AM | Report abuse

I love this. Do you really believe anyone who actually owns a BMW lives in Mississippi to begin with? O, yeah, a state legislator perhaps. Even they couldn't spell BMW.

Posted by: therev1 | March 2, 2011 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Mississippi ranks near the bottom of the 50 states when it comes to education, poverty, and health of its citizens. The citizens of Mississippi need all the help they can get and they deserve better leaders than Hayley Barbour. If he really cared, he would be trying to uplift his state rather than making idiotic statements about BMWs and Medicaid.

Posted by: zzishate@yahoo.com | March 2, 2011 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Surely the writer knows that when old fat Southern white men say "we have people" he means "we have black people." Come on get with the program.

Posted by: 8-Man2 | March 2, 2011 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Libertissues stated: "Then, again, Barber's argument was that SOME Medicaid people should be expected to pay a co-pay. It's called looking for solutions. Even if he invented the BMW to be a colorful example, his point is a valid issue about low INCOME but having WEALTH."

Please explain how someone qulifiying under MS' draconian Medicaid income test could possibly afford a co-pay and/or accumulate (or retain) any "wealth? Sounds like you're as far removed from reality as Sen Barbour(ous)...

Posted by: Concerned58 | March 2, 2011 9:08 AM | Report abuse

The GOP is such a evil joke, they really do lie about everything. If you support these liars, and your not a billionaire....you need your head examined.

Posted by: porcelainproductions | March 2, 2011 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Sen Barbour is a bigot and a lier who caters to the ignorant bigots of the GOP (which of course is a pretty high percentage of the GOP). So as far as getting the GOP nomination, Sen Barbour believes, that the road to victory is through gathering the GOP bigots.

Posted by: rcc_2000 | March 2, 2011 9:19 AM | Report abuse

We need real reform not these dog & pony shows ........ neither party seems to know how to get that done.

They use Medicare & Social security as a political football, which they happen to drop too often.

Maybe if Congress became part of the Social Security system, we just might get some real reform, instead of political grandstanding!!

Posted by: bkarpus | March 2, 2011 9:23 AM | Report abuse

These right-wing Republican basterds are all the same: hypocrites, liars, cowards, imbeciles, and stupid.
No wonder Sarah B.S., Wackmann, Trash Limbaugh, Fluffy Flake, Insanity, and Bill O'Dummy are all members of the same gang.

Posted by: analyst72 | March 2, 2011 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Wow, he must be lying. Neither he nor his staff responded to an inquiry by the renowned author of this piece, Glen Kesler.

Posted by: dyas666 | March 2, 2011 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Here we go again. We just got done with Huckabee inventing a story about the president and here comes Haley Barbour with a figment of his imagination about Medicaid. Typical of the Republicans. They come down hard on whatever benefits those who have the least - and hardest in the states with the most people having the least. No one says everybody in the Medicaid system is honest. Certainly no one says everyone in the political system is honest. And no one says everyone in business is honest. It's always the same cast of characters from the same places - the Deep South and the Southwest - places with a long history of discrimination.

Posted by: cmckeonjr | March 2, 2011 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Haley Barbour is the definitive conservative -- no ideas, just bromides and cliches posing as facts meant to scare us.

Posted by: lemmetellia | March 2, 2011 9:28 AM | Report abuse

And who is to say that the "Medicaid Recipient" owned the car. They could have taken it on a test drive from a dealership. They could have borrowed their friends car. etc, etc. Gimme da facts, jus da facts ...

Posted by: sitspin | March 2, 2011 7:58 AM | Report abuse

---

Thanks for the chuckle of the day, spinny. I can see it now.

Customer: Hi, I'd like to test drive a BMW.

Salesperson #1: Sure! Try out this 328Xi, she's a real beaut'.

Customer: Thanks!

[Wait a few couple minutes while they bring the car around.]

Customer: See 'ya later!

[Wait a few hours]

Salesperson #2: I don't think he's coming back.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | March 2, 2011 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Typical GOP thought process. Let's see, Huckabee and Barbour are now out of the running. How many to go?

Posted by: jckdoors | March 2, 2011 9:34 AM | Report abuse

For the record, I think Barbour is a lying clown and in no way competent to be President
...however...
- @ rcc_2000 and @ Concerned58 - he is a GOVERNOR not a Senator.
- and to those of you making fun of his first name - really? your really doing that? how very F'ing first grade of you. Seriously?

Posted by: overed | March 2, 2011 9:38 AM | Report abuse

One of the little known facts about Medicaid is that in most states unless you are a child, pregnant woman, or senior citizen you have to be declared legally disabled before you qualify for Medicaid. I know that my next door neighbor applied last year, a 23 year old college student who had a catastrophic accident that exhausted his student insurance. They never even got to his financial situation because his disability claim was denied; even though he was wheel-chair bound and taking multiple medications for non-stop pain he was found capable of doing "sedentary work."

I know that we have serious budget problems and that no program should be off-limits or sacrosanct but it drives me to distraction when I hear morons pop off about how easy it is to get Medicaid or public assistance.

Posted by: Cossackathon | March 2, 2011 9:45 AM | Report abuse

The new GoP Talking Points Memo went out: Rail On About Medicare

From today's issue of the WaPO:
"Republicans sought to shift the rhetorical battle back to an issue that would be largely unaffected by the president's proposal: the impact of the law's Medicaid requirements on state budgets."

So, Look for all of Fox News Commentators and GoP Senators and Reps to latch on laser-like to these talking points and begin the drumbeat repetition to ensure the Reagan lie about, "Welfare Queens" again gets inculcated into the feeble minds of the current Republican faithful.

Posted by: TalkingPointers | March 2, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Medicaid is partially funded by the Federal government but applications are reviewed and approved by state officials, i.e., employees of the governor. If there are so many affluent people in Mississippi being approved for Medicaid then what does that say about Haley Barbour's executive skills?

Posted by: Cossackathon | March 2, 2011 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Kessler deserves the pinocchios here.

Kessler's inability to verify Barbour's statement doesn't make Barbour a liar, it just means Kessler hasn't got the goods.

It is ENTIRELY conceivable that someone could purchase a BMW, and later fall on hard times -- putting them in a position to qualify for medicaid. The qualification is based on income, not acquired wealth.


Kessler: You get 2 pinocchios for making a claim without any valid data whatsoever.

Posted by: Benson
______________________
you give Barbour way too much credit. He was not referring to some obscure flaw in the qualification rules that overlooks assets like a BMW and doesn't require it to be sold before qualifying. If he knew that much about Medicaid, he wouldn't be referring to people claiming they couldn't afford a co-pay (there isn't one, and no pharmacy could waive it if there were).

he's just stupid. don't go looking for excuses for him.

Posted by: JoeT1 | March 2, 2011 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Of course even if true the BMW could be owned by a Good Samaritan neighbor who took a home bound neighbor to the drug store to get her meds.

Posted by: Napoleonfromthemanorfarm | March 2, 2011 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Your article is atrociously researched.

Current income can be low and qualify someone. If they actually report it all.

And, BTW, here's an article from the Clarion-Ledger at the height of the recession, detailing how a Chrysler dealer in Greenwood, Mississippi, went from being a new car dealer to, you guessed it, a BMW Benz etc dealer.

If you got out of DC more often and actually knew actual black folks in the South, you would recognize the term "hood rich."

Clarion Ledger June 9, 2009 Jeff Ayers
"Dodge-Jeep in Greenwood is transforming its space into a pre-owned-import dealership offering BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and other brands. The Chrysler signage is gone,..."

And, folks, that's ground zero in the Delta. Cotton country.

Get real, Fact Checker.

His point is that a lot of people in Mississippi have no job, dropped out of school, and live pretty well off of Uncle Sam. Totally dependent and addicted to SSDI, Medicaid, WIC, food stamps, yet having disposable income for big screen TVs and Beemers and Benzes.

And, finally, take a WILD GUESS who Mississppi's RICHEST Congressman is????

No, not Sen. Appropriations Chair Cochran. No, not Wicker.

Nope. Bennie Thompson, D-MS. Black Caucus.

And, quite naturally, representing the Delta.

Our State Black Caucus chair drives either a Bentley or a BMW.

How do we know? The same paper reported that the Sect of State bumped into the BMW.

In that white man's Kia.

Posted by: PhactCheckMate | March 2, 2011 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Again, I can only speak from my experience with enrolling my Mom on Medicaid to pay nursing home bills beyond what her pension will cover. Prior to approval, her house was sold and all savings and other funds applied to nursing home payments. Medicaid only kicks in once she has only $2,500 left in assets. Prior to approval is an extensive approval process in which we must submit her tax returns, bank statements, copies of checks, bills etc. Medicaid contacts her bank directly to review her financial assets. It can check back for 5 years to ensure no funds were transferred. I don't say that there is no fraud just that the requirements are stringent and the approval process exhaustive. This is not a walk in the park and its appalling when politicans fail to recognize the importance of this program in light of the cost (and unfortunately necessity) of nursing home care.

Posted by: Berri | March 2, 2011 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Automobiles are leased too, which means they aren't assets at all.

Posted by: blasmaic | March 2, 2011 10:05 AM | Report abuse

One point your article failed to point out is Mississippi’s $8,150 yearly income medicaid income ceiling is 54% of the minimum wage income for a 40 hour work week for a year, $15,080. In other words, someone making minimum wage moping floors or flipping burgers for an employer who does not provide health coverage cannot get any help from their home state they pay taxes to when they become inured or seriously ill. What a wonderful god-fearing, bible belt, Christian state.

Posted by: Finnegen | March 2, 2011 10:08 AM | Report abuse


Haley's living in the past.

The welfare queen of the 21st century is a white, college-educated public employee in the midwest.

Posted by: blasmaic | March 2, 2011 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Wow..this is pure, flat out race baiting from a good old boy southern governor. When do the blatant and disgusting attacks on the poor ever end with the Republican Party? How low can they go in their continued war on anyone who (on the surface)is not a white, male, evangelical Christian? Why do so many Republicans hate minorities, women, gays and the poor, but love big corporations and the rich? These scum will do anything..and I mean ANYTHING to pit individual citizens against other citizens with lies. Simply sickening!

Posted by: EricinMD | March 2, 2011 10:16 AM | Report abuse

In my state, Medicaid allows purchase of a car with Dr approval is car is to be used to transport the recipient - of course I'm still talking nursing home here and nursing home residents aren't driving. Its for their family to transport to dental/eye appointments etc. Not sure how one would maintain the car when Medicaid only allows $40/month in personal funds.

Posted by: Berri | March 2, 2011 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Haley Barbour is 100% correct. There is tremendous abuse of the entitlement system - one food stamp recipient has a business and drives around in a Lexus. Another CA resident applying for public services lives in a luxury home and goes golfing on a regular basis. Wake up, people. If Democrats want to keep paying for these people, go ahead. Just don't force the smarter and more productive half of the population to do it too.

Posted by: fingal | March 2, 2011 10:18 AM | Report abuse

To qualify for Medicaid in Mississippi:

* you must be a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence
* An applicant must be a resident of Mississippi.
* You must meet requirements for age and/or disability, income, resources and other Mississippi Medicaid eligibility requirements
* Make application for Mississippi Medicaid at the Medicaid Regional Office that serves your area
* Provide requested verification to the Medicaid Specialist who handles your application within the allowed time limits

-------
Note the second paragraph. Meet age/disability requirements, etc.

If you are unemployed, you would max out at $235 per week in benefits. This is with a wage in highest quarter of $6110.00 or over. The state of PA give benefits per week of $572 maximum for quarterly wages of $14,263 or more.

So, if you're unemployed in MS, you're sunk.

In fact, oddly enough, if you look at this map, you will note an odd correlation between Red states and poverty.

http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/28/the-poorest-states-of-america/

Posted by: MichelleKinPA | March 2, 2011 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Kessler deserves the pinocchios here.

Kessler's inability to verify Barbour's statement doesn't make Barbour a liar, it just means Kessler hasn't got the goods.

It is ENTIRELY conceivable that someone could purchase a BMW, and later fall on hard times -- putting them in a position to qualify for medicaid. The qualification is based on income, not acquired wealth.


Kessler: You get 2 pinocchios for making a claim without any valid data whatsoever.

Posted by: Benson

-------------------------

Give up hope that he's actually going to check some facts on something.

Kessler is nothing more than a propagandist.

Posted by: Benson | March 2, 2011 10:25 AM | Report abuse

IIf you're skeptical that the system is being gamed you are a fool. That you put a gloss of empirical analysis to your foolery is twice as foolish. Is it raining? I won't know until I read it in the Post.

Posted by: shuckandjive | March 2, 2011 10:29 AM | Report abuse

All pharmacy windows have security cameras, so the bulbous Mr. Barbour should be required to provide his evidence. And, since there is no co-pay now, how does the idiot Barbour know if there is a ability to co-pay. Besides not everyone picks up their own medication, so how does Haley Barbour know that the car and the Medicaid benefits are tied? Foster parents will pick-up the medications of their foster children and those foster children are always on Medicaid. Neighbors, especially with the elderly, will pick up the meds for a disabled or elderly neighbor. I pick up the meds for a neighbor who has macular degeneration. So is my make and model of car to determine her benefits?

Posted by: merrylees | March 2, 2011 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Lies are the fuel that feed the Republican engine. First you had Huckabee and now you have Barbour. These are not misinformed people; they know better. However it is their strategy to tell a barrage of lies to get the uninitiated to believe some of them.

Posted by: fasm7700 | March 2, 2011 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Baggers are LIARS.

Posted by: jeffc6578 | March 2, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

At least in the case of nursing home payments, I know Medicaid is based upon total assets - not just income. In the approval process, Medicaid considered Mom's savings, and the worth of her home. We had to sell her home and use the proceeds, along with her savings and pension to pay nursing home costs. Only once that is exhausted will Medicaid begin to pay. We had to set up a QIT to ensure her pension goes directly to pay the nursing home. Upon her death, if any funds remain, they will go to the government. Its a stringent process that I hope no one ever has to go through but I'm glad it allows Mom a safe/decent place to stay now that we can no longer care for her.

Posted by: Berri | March 2, 2011 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Where I shop, I often see big, fat shoppers buying lobster and rib-eye steaks with Foodstamps.

Another member of the family will be right behind them, buying beer and lottery tickets with cash.

Posted by: pgr88 | March 2, 2011 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Barbour establsing his capacity and skill at prevarication—a requirement for any serious candidate for the Republican Tea Bag Party's presidential nomination.

Barbour by any standard shows he has real skills at fabricating and delivering the Big Lie—doesn't hurt that he does it in person with that disarming southern "auh shucks" accent and affect.

Medicaid is gamed by corrupt providers, organized crime and insurance companies (same as first two examples); but those are all part of the GOP base and are out of bounds so in the fine tradition of the Republican Tea Baggers blame the recipient of the service.

Posted by: toconn2 | March 2, 2011 10:44 AM | Report abuse

bigmac1810 who says Haley is just a girl's name?

Posted by: Hazmat77 | March 2, 2011 10:50 AM | Report abuse

To say there is not fraud in medicare is to delude one's self.

The fact checker came up empty on this one.

Posted by: Benson | March 2, 2011 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Barbour is a welfare millionaire. He has made a lucrative career getting the federal government to subsidize private and political activity as a lobbyist, a party official, and as Governor. For the past five years, he has diverted federal Katrina and stimulus funds through his pork and patronage network. The state share of Medicaid, which should be around 25% was as low as 11% in 2009 because he was allowed to use Katrina and stimulus money to supplant state funds. Too bad there are no investigative journalists any more.

Posted by: jbmindc | March 2, 2011 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps the fact checker is too young to remember the myriad of newspaper stories (yes, including The NY Times and other liberal media when they actually printed the news) disclosing a variety of welfare fraud cases ... many involving people driving new cars to the Welfare office to collect their monthly stipend. Or reporters catching welfare recipients spending their payments on new Television sets, or cashing their checks at the local liquor store while stocking up on their favorite booze.

Perhaps the fact checker has forgotten that exaggeration (hyperbole) by politicians of all persuasions is used to make their point stand out among all the clutter.

Perhaps the fact checker would better serve the public by examining all of President Obama's claims and assertions since he became a national public figure ... exposing the myriad of Obama lies would be a public service.

Posted by: Hazmat77 | March 2, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Is this the same Boss Hogg Haley Barbour who skimmed and scammed the Katrina bailouts?

The SAME CROOK??

Posted by: gkam | March 2, 2011 11:00 AM | Report abuse

jbmindc ... if there are no investigative journalists anymore, how is it that YOU know all you wrote? Or is it just your partisan opinions based on minimal fact and guess work?

Posted by: Hazmat77 | March 2, 2011 11:02 AM | Report abuse

angie12106... just wondering, did you get your March monthly payment yet? I heard that the DNC was running low on cash.

Posted by: Hazmat77 | March 2, 2011 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I would have to give this one four and a half pinnochios. I reserve the five pinnochios for Governor Huckabee claim that President Obama "grew up in Kenya."

If you look at just the governors and former governors that are willing to lie countless times within a day, then you know this country has a problem with truth. Add to that, the previous president was a governor.

Doesn't speak well of governors!!!!

Posted by: ronhamp | March 2, 2011 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Reagan's anecdote ultimately was deemed exaggerated and aberrational, but it created a lasting image that fed popular distrust of the welfare system
==========================================
Just like illegal aliens, extreme radical jihadist and welfare queens, all ways to turn the American public against each other. Welfare queens turned black people into the face of government spending abuse, even though the majority of the recipients were non- black.

Posted by: priceisright | March 2, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

How about using the billions and billions
of dollars we waste now propping up
CLEARLY enemy states like Pakistan and
all those other Islamic death-to-America
countries... to save a few of our own elderly
or disabled citizens from depravation and
misery in this the richest nation of earth.

S D Rodrian
http://sdrodrian.com

.

Posted by: sdr1 | March 2, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Why is it that Republicans are the biggest puss-filled sacks of lying elephant manure that ever disgraced this country? And that's being as nice as I can be - they outright lie in order to further their own terminal greed and relentless quest for power. REWARD THE RICH, PUNISH THE POOR - VOTE REPUBLICAN!

Posted by: Bushwhacked1 | March 2, 2011 11:34 AM | Report abuse

To be fair, he didn't specify that the person owned the car. The person could have simply been a passenger in the car and that qualifies as "pulled up to the drive-through window."

Also, BMW makes motorcycles which are cheaper than the cars. Did Barbour specify what kind of BMW? Did we know if the BMW was functional?

Lots of facts unturned on this one.

Posted by: corriem1 | March 2, 2011 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Barbour should try and elevate the incomes of the poor then the population of poor people would drop and his costs would drop. However Mississippi and other Southern states are the poorest in the nation due to what? No growth in the middle class from the Repubobots in any of the States.
Meanwhile corporations that are suppose to grow jobs in those states are reaping tax benefits for the likes of Barbour and his ilk. No jobs and keep the downtrodden down!

Posted by: beachbum1938 | March 2, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

America: WAKE UP! These probable candidates are all wanting free air time. They all, Hillbilly Huck, Dumb Sarah, and now Bert the Barbour make these off-the-wall comments which are then taken up by the likes of Rush, Beck and Hannity and now they have two weeks of free air time. Pretty smart!

Just learn to ignore these redneck, bigoted idiots...

Posted by: NativeSonofTexas | March 2, 2011 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Oy.

Posted by: JohnDinHouston | March 2, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

An insignificant governor of an insignificant state makes a misstatement and the WAPO screams "Whopper."

The man who became President said (on tape seven times) that he would put health care negotiations on C-SPAN then proceeded to negotiate in secret, and the WAPO gave him a pass.

I remember back when the WAPO was actually a newspaper.

Posted by: Chippewa | March 2, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I listened to Barbour some years ago argue "socialized" medicine with a British woman on WAMU. He didn't have a clue other than the well worn cliches of the right without substance. Just fear and ignorance. Typical Dixiecrat.

Posted by: roscym1 | March 2, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Haley Barbour represents in one personality a lot that is wrong with the Republican Party. His bombastic approach and his old-boy sayings and connections are a throwback to yesteryear. Beneath his homespun veneer is a bigoted man fighting to be relevant.

Posted by: EarlC | March 2, 2011 12:43 PM | Report abuse

More evidence that WaPo is on a witch hunt for conservatives. Anyone who reads Barbour's comments on the issue know exactly what he meant: There exists a good deal of corruption in the system that must be addressed. Did he exagerate in order to make a point? Perhaps. But that is not the real issue here. The issue is that the left, (that includes you WaPo) are so desperate to make all conservatives out to be loose wire fringe nut jobs that they will take a non-story and blow it up in order to try to promote the idea that conservatives are wrong about other things as well. "If Barbour can LIE about this issue, he must be lying about everything else too!" Like Obama sying that conservative Republicans could only ride in "the back seat" of his "forward thinking" movement, Barbour was not being literal. Unless, of course, you really do believe that party voting preference should be used to determine where someone is allowed to ride in a motor vehicle. Give it a rest!

Posted by: josh27 | March 2, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

There are many people out here who are
totally dependent on taxpayers to pay
their way - housing, education, food,
medical, etc.

It is time that they be required to at the
very least pay something for the first
time in their pitiful lives!

Posted by: Sirius2 | March 2, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Another big fat Republican liar....

Posted by: Geopolitics1 | March 2, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Republicans lie continuously.

They never stop.


Posted by: lindalovejones | March 2, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

love the name calling left... all bitter that the GOP might take away a FREEBIE from them... GET A JOB losers!

Posted by: fhlh | March 2, 2011 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Haley's probably right. HIS friends probably do drive their BMWs to the pharmacy and complain about their co-pays.

Posted by: Bob22003 | March 2, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Why do they lie about this stuff? The truth is bad enough.

Posted by: andrew23boyle | March 2, 2011 1:18 PM | Report abuse

That's just it... The GOP only sees BMWs.

Posted by: soco3 | March 2, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

TO: drazen1 who wrote:
“I've asked this before and I'll ask it again: why do people keep voting for these idiots?!?”

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

They said they were going to vote Republican because we called them “stupid”.

Now they’ve gone and done it and proved we were right.


Posted by: lindalovejones | March 2, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

TO: Sirius2 who wrote:
“… It is time that they be required to at the very least pay something for the first time in their pitiful lives!”

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

The only people who don’t have to pay taxes are millionaires, and I’m sure they don’t care how “pitiful” you think they are.


Posted by: lindalovejones | March 2, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

The statement isn't about one specific identifiable person pulling up in a BMW - "We have people pull up at the pharmacy window in a BMW and say they can't afford their co-payment." - it's about a number of people owning expensive cars, cheating our system. Barbour is using a broad anecdote to desribe how certain people are abusing the system. Essentially he is using a broad brush to villify the poor, the uninsured as the reason our country is in the economic mess. The poor took down wall street's bond market, the poor took down the banks by accepting subprime loans, the poor are ruining the schools, the poor are running up the cost of everything.

For Barbour if the poor didn't cheat his state aout of extra pills each month, Mississippi would be on the upswing. This is class warfare at it's finest.

Posted by: thingsthatshine | March 2, 2011 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Kessler's effort is disappointing because he doesn't label Reagan's and Barbour's claims for what they are - race-baiting. Both claims are only superficially about cutting spending or waste, since they're obviously outliers if they're true. They're really about pandering to the resentment of whites using euphemisms for myths about non-whites.

Posted by: Carstonio | March 2, 2011 1:42 PM | Report abuse

...If a guy or gal owns a BMW, but is unemployed, they could qualify for Medicaid in that state - based on low CURRENT income. I know two people who do it here in Idaho. In both cases their unemployment has also expired.

There's a lot of financial pain going on. And it'd been in all the papers. No work means no health insurance. This is not rocket science.

The CORRECT answer to Barber -- which requires no research at all -- is that the driver could be unemployed.

Then, again, Barber's argument was that SOME Medicaid people should be expected to pay a co-pay. It's called looking for solutions. Even if he invented the BMW to be a colorful example, his point is a valid issue about low INCOME but having WEALTH. Then again, he's a Republican isn't he?

Posted by: LibertyIssues | March 2, 2011 7:51 AM
************************

Nice try at deflection, though your spelling gives you away as a conservative ideologue. I agree, theoretically, there are circumstances where someone who formerly had means could own a nice car even though they're currently destitute.

But I doubt that happens in reality.

You see, there are continuing costs of ownership with a luxury car that would be impossible to maintain at $8,500 a year. The car would have been sold long before the Medicaid application was approved. Medicaid also means-tests in ways beyond income: they're perfectly aware of the scams folks attempt when placing granny in an assisted living facility at government expense.

Barbour's intent was clear, as Kessler points out: he was invoking Reagan's welfare queen. Barbour got a double-bonus for this allusion, as well: we all remember the skin color of the infamous and fictitious woman Reagan demonized.

If Barbour can point out a significant, unarguable and real pool of Medicaid recipients who have other means, then certainly, his suggestion has merit.

Absent that, this is nothing but a borderline racist anecdote; he's a shameful Good Ol' Boy liar.

Posted by: abqcleve | March 2, 2011 1:52 PM | Report abuse

More evidence that WaPo is on a witch hunt for conservatives. Anyone who reads Barbour's comments on the issue know exactly what he meant: There exists a good deal of corruption in the system that must be addressed. Did he exagerate in order to make a point? Perhaps. ....
Posted by: josh27 | March 2, 2011 12:52 PM
*****************************

Barbour didn't attack or address corruption with his little anecdote. We all know that corruption in Medicaid/Medicare comes almost exclusively from doctors and inappropriate, fraudulent claims submissions. Barbour knows this too, trust me: it's universally recognized as THE fraud issue in our current system.

Instead of addressing that, however, Barbour chose to offer a spurious anecdote focused not on doctors and insurers, but on the old bugbear: the (black) Welfare Queen "milking" the system. Except for Barbour's characteristic Southern white twist, this is exactly the same play as Walker is making in WI: manufacture a fictitious "abuser" of the system and set that person/union up as a scapegoat and red herring.

Shameful, unprincipalled and un-American.

Exactly what we've come to expect from the GOP since at least Atwater.

Posted by: abqcleve | March 2, 2011 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Barbour's comment makes for a colorful sound bite, but I seriously doubt that it's true. Probably heard it from some over zealous aide wanting to sound 'in the know' about it to the boss.

Taken in context with Barbour's other recent sociological observations, you can almost hear him add, "...and they're BLACK."

Posted by: MidwaySailor76 | March 2, 2011 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Haley is talking about people in Mississippi who drive BMWs because their elderly parents gave away their assets to their kids in order to qualify for Medicaid paid nursing homes.

Posted by: jimk8mr | March 2, 2011 2:12 PM | Report abuse

haley barbour, donut and slave loving southerner. all dem black peeples on welfare, eh, pal. btw, fat boy, have you ever had a real job? u so proud of your necktie and your suit. you a lobbyist? you so proud. what's that, boy? sounds like you have a mouthful of sh|t when you talk. swallow that donut, boy.

Posted by: joeblow111 | March 2, 2011 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Right, wrong, correct, incorrect. Details. Explanations. All Mumbo-Jumbo!

The whole idea is to toss the indiscreet crap out there and see what sticks. The Teapublicans have been doing it since the beginning of time. And sad to say, quite successfully!

Posted by: kishorgala | March 2, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

A few posters just don't get it - or don't want to get it - and Kessler gets no Pinocchios. The tale was told for a purpose: to picture Medicaid receipients as fraudulent, and the system as unnecessary. Whether someone might possibly have a BMW because they had previously held a job or brrowed it to pick up their perscription is beside the point. He tells the tale to say, "People who can afford BMWs are on Medicaid." The man is either totally ignorant (a real possibility in his state) or a liar, or both. The person who has a mother in the nursing home is correct - Medicaid has very stringent requirements. If his state can't take care of fraud, it's the state's fault - ultimately his - for having bad government, not the fault of the program. The rest of what he says is horse manure.

Posted by: garoth | March 2, 2011 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Facts are not winning the debate these days. And false statements made by the Republicans and Tea Partyers will work in the same way that Reagan's statement about the "welfare queen" did--because "it created a lasting image that fed popular distrust of the welfare system." I've not had a single honest debate with a conservative in years---not ONE. These clowns have no critical thinking skills, no grasp of the issues of the day, and change the subject of a debate when they, at last, realize that they are losing the debate.

One would hope that a relentless pursuit of truth through analysis of empirical evidence/data and science would win out over lies. But I'm beginning to think that--if we want to win the debates--we liberals should simply lie about the issues. That would save time and energy.

Posted by: ptgrunner | March 2, 2011 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Such a bigoted statement! It might work when the good ole boys are slapping each other's back for the best welfare queen example. But this is old! Could it be that the driver borrowed "Miss Ann's" BMW to go beg for the meds for her sick child? She had to get groceries and pick up the laundry while she was "in town" also! Just a thought!

Posted by: mrobertson011 | March 2, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Obama's alternative energy czar is on the record of wanting American fuel prices to be equal to that of Europe. I suppose with the high costs of Obamacare's health savings law; higher fuel prices; higher food prices; higher costs to states for collective barganing adding higher fuel prices meets or beats Obama's agenda for bringing down America to third world status. Sure makes Karl Marx happy because the ideology is taken from his rule book.

Posted by: lhudson828 | March 2, 2011 4:15 PM | Report abuse

"To say there is not fraud in medicare is to delude one's self.

"The fact checker came up empty on this one.

"Posted by: Benson | March 2, 2011 10:54 AM"

You come up empty on two counts.

You suggest Kessler is saying there's no fraud anywhere, actually, he's saying that Barbour's specific claim, involving one example, is lacking in any kind of proof, other than anecdotal.

That's epic, easily-debunked failure number one.

Epic easily-debunked failure number two is that Kessler's posting about Barbour's claim involving Medicaid, NOT Medicare.

Do try to keep up, it's not that difficult.

At least for most people.

Posted by: kingcranky | March 2, 2011 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Yawn...


Who cares. Boss Hogg never had any credibility in the first place.

.

Posted by: DrainYou | March 2, 2011 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Now that he's acknowledged that fraud exists in every aspect of the program, what's his solution to stopping the fraud? At least Bush was the governor of a state that rates well in some measures, like economics, but what has Barbour done to transform Mississippi at all? And don't give me this crap about Obama not being an executive previously because it's just a red herring and we aren't falling for it. What has Barbour accomplished?

Posted by: nsu1203 | March 2, 2011 5:15 PM | Report abuse

I am not defending anything that Barbour has said but I could not help but notice all of the liberal comments about Barbour and Republicans sound somewhat hateful. Did the Libs not heard Obama's call for more civility. It certainly sounds like a lot of hate speech to me or is this the normal pattern of liberals?

Posted by: sales7 | March 2, 2011 5:39 PM | Report abuse

"I am not defending anything that Barbour has said but I could not help but notice all of the liberal comments about Barbour and Republicans sound somewhat hateful. Did the Libs not heard Obama's call for more civility. It certainly sounds like a lot of hate speech to me or is this the normal pattern of liberals?

"Posted by: sales7 | March 2, 2011 5:39 PM"

Ah, the old "if you attack someone spreading outright lies you're spewing hate speech" canard, often played when far-right wing corporatists get caught in a self-inflicted fiasco of their own doing.

In other words, aggressive far-right rhetoric is fine, part of the political give and take, while aggressive liberal rhetoric is "hate speech".

So double standards are fine in your world, got it, thanks.

And you are defending Barbour's absurdity, trying to diminish it by bashing liberals, an especially stupid tactic as no liberal physically forced Barbour to make an idiot of himself.

But hey, if you wish to spin for the Governor that's certainly your right, even if you're too embarrassed to admit it openly.

Posted by: kingcranky | March 2, 2011 7:10 PM | Report abuse

you have no idea how bad this makes u look abroad. You just diont care that people cant get healthcare, its outrageous. Why would anyone want to emulate America?

Posted by: Chops2 | March 2, 2011 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Without lying, exaggerating, berating and belittling those less fortunate, engaging in cruel, critical, uneducated and offensive behavior towards fellow Americans who have to make do on less... what would a Republican politician do to earn their paycheck? The NEED the DRAMA... thrive on the attention... and live in a world of fantasy. One can only hope they grow up before it's too late.

Posted by: deborahjbrown | March 2, 2011 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Without lying, exaggerating, berating and belittling those less fortunate, engaging in cruel, critical, uneducated and offensive behavior towards fellow Americans who have to make do on less... what would a Republican politician do to earn their paycheck? They NEED the DRAMA... thrive on the attention... and live in a world of fantasy. One can only hope they grow up before it's too late.

Posted by: deborahjbrown | March 2, 2011 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Ultra-Liberal Glenn Kessler disregards the most crucial point: The Federal Government doesn't cover the added costs of its ObamaCare mandate. The Federal match is based on a complicated formula that varies by state. Overall, the federal government only pays about 57 percent of the nation’s total Medicaid cost. I'm not sure what planet Kessler is from, but obviously it’s one, where States have Billions of excess, unspent dollars in their budgets, which can be used to pay their State’s share of the cost to cover the medical expenses of the 40 million new Medicaid members, decreed by ObamaCare.

Posted by: Cris1 | March 2, 2011 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Yeah the feds pay 57% of the nations Medicaid cost, so what's Barbour's solution? Sounds like his solution is to claim fraud in the system (really?) and demonize poor people (standard Republican response).

Posted by: priceisright | March 2, 2011 9:22 PM | Report abuse

I'm guessing this comment by Barbour was anecdotal...and probably stemmed from a pharmacist seeing a person in a BMW using their Medicaid card. Likely explanation (from someone - me - who deals in this arena all the time): One of the folks in he family is a drug-dealer...and drove his mom/sister/cousin/aunt/girlfriend to the pharmacy or wherever the Medicaid card was used. It was probably a used BMW, purchased with drug proceeds.
Posted by: juraski | March 2, 2011 7:51 AM

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Oh for goodness sakes! How about the person had a decent job and drove a BMW up until he trained his replacement who lives overseas and lost his job after that person was trained and went back overseas. He still drives the BMW because in most states you are allowed a house and a car and can still be eligible for benefits. Now unfortunately this person is 50+ and hasn't been able to find a job. His unemployment ran out so he has little to no income. He has gone through his 401K and other assets, maybe already loss his house and only has left the car which he is probably on the verge of losing as well.

Oh and by the way, perhaps people commenting on here should take the time and actually investigate what the criteria is to apply and receive Medicaid. Healthy individuals and non citizens are not eligible. Pregnant women, children the blind and elderly are. People eligible for SSI (not Social Security) are eligible and those people are elderly or may be ill. While income varies from state to state, it is extremely low income. People are allowed a house and a car and very limited assets. With couples when one is going into a nursing home, the criteria is slightly different in that a spouse can not be impoverished in order to become eligible for nursing home Medicaid.

So, before people start going on and on about drug addicts, shiftless and lazy people and illegals abusing Medicaid, how about looking at how difficult it is to become eligible. You will probably find more providers abusing Medicaid than actual participants.

Posted by: catmomtx | March 2, 2011 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Maybe you should fact check Obama. After all he is the man with the power today. Go back to when he started his campaign for President. You know, the way you did for H.W. Bush and "read my lips..." See what you come up with.

Posted by: nychap44 | March 2, 2011 8:11 AM
??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

What has this got to do with President Obama? Haley Barbour is the one who made the stupid comment. And by the way, Medicaid is a state program. And as far as fact checking, the President campaigned on reforming health care. Now it isn't exactly what he wanted but he at least accomplished something that many wanted to for a very long time. He did something about it, he accomplished a campaign goal. Republicans on the other hand have done NOTHING and are trying their best to never do anything.

Posted by: catmomtx | March 2, 2011 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Get a Life Kessler!

Is someone actually paying you to write this drivel?

A whopper is when someone promises that $1 Trillion in stimulus will keep unemployment below 8%; or when someone says the new federal health plan will save money over the next decade rather than increase federal spending by $1 Trillion per decade.

Posted by: ELF2 | March 3, 2011 12:06 AM | Report abuse

I know a farmer that recieved 6 thousand dollars for signing up for farm programs. He did not suffer any crop losses and prices are record high. I do know farmers that do this and drive cadillacs and Lexus and deduct pickups with heated leather seats from their taxes. Barbour should swallow what hes chewin and fry the bigger fish. I cant believ thats what passes for presidential material in the republican party. Wheres Eisenhower when you need him. Or Teddy Roosevelt, or even Goldwater. Some guys with some ethics.

Posted by: jimbobkalina1 | March 3, 2011 1:41 AM | Report abuse

These teabagheadnazilunatics are so stupid. They belong back in the segregationist era when there were genuinely racist christians. Seems like this is the only type of christian there is. Full of hate and rage.

Posted by: letemhaveit | March 3, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Just remember the biggest 'welfare queen' took the government for less money over 10 years than the average military contractor does in a quarter of one year--and still doesn't get suspended. Check the facts at Common Cause.

Posted by: commonsense101 | March 3, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

catmomtx

Thanks for your factual, reality-based replies to the blithering extremists who love nothing more than to demonize the poor with easily-debunked anecdotes while simultaneously grovelling for corporations, industries and CEO's unwilling to do their patriotic duty by paying their fair share of taxes-they use our infrastructure even more than we do-and hiring the unemployed.

As a fellow Texan, we've seen what Republican policies and elected officials have done to our state's budget, a $25 billion deficit, but since there's not even one statewide elected Democrat, the GOP and teabaggers can't blame this looting of the Texas treasury on the Dems, unions-public and private-or trial lawyers, seeing as how we've had tort/medical malpractice "reform" for years, but medical bills and health insurance premiums for consumers haven't yet decreased as a result.

As pointed out previously in these replies, assets of no more than $5000 are allowed to qualify for Medicaid, so the idea that poor people are qualifying for the program while spending like drunken CEO's is absolutely laughable, worth nothing but mockery and ridicule on Barbour's part.

As an aside, I've got two little feline monsters myself, and they're the perfect antidote for a bad/aggravating/stressful day.

Posted by: kingcranky | March 3, 2011 5:59 PM | Report abuse

I am from Mississippi. I am college educated. I am a professional. I RESENT the biased comments towards people in the south. We all know what shoes are, and many of us actually read. I must ask this though: Washington's mayor at one time was from Mississippi. After he was caught with CRACK and PROSTITUTES he was re-elected again!!! Where is the intelligence behind that?

Posted by: bencearnest | March 4, 2011 2:53 PM | Report abuse

How many here who claim to have wtnessed someone cheating at food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, SSI disability, SSDI disability, "welfare" or any other government benefit program, have turned them in to the authorities? There is a fraud hotline in every jurisdiction. If you see something where it appears a person is cheating the system, turn them in! People who cheat give deserving recipients who meet the legal eligibility requirements a bad name.

At one time, I had access to a list of fraud hot line tips, and the results of extremely thorough investgations of each. The vast majority of the situations turned out to be simply not what they seemed. Few of the tips actually involved fraud and/or abuse. But don't hesitate to report anything you suspect is fraud.

People would say "I turned so and so in, and nothing was ever done about it." I guarantee you that was an indication that what you saw was not what it seemed to be.

I might add that if you saw the recipient driving a decent car, (s)he either got it before (s)he fell on hard times, or the car belongs to someone else who lent it to them for errands or whatever.

If the family has any nice posessions, either they were purchased before falling on hard times, or likely they were hand-me-downs, or presents from family members, who often give nice things to their needy relatives. Examples: TVs, stereos or other electronic items. Or they give them to needy family members when they themselves upgrade to something better.

As for food stamps, people buy cakes, ice cream or other expensive favorites for their children's birthdays, buy steaks for a treat, for which they likely have been saving up all month by eating peanut butter sandwiches, ramen noodles, scalloped potatoes, etc. Also many times a person who is buying with food stamps is shopping for an elderly aunt, or for someone who is disabled, or for more than one family.

Poor folks get tired of never having anything good, and will do without and sacrifice things temporarily, that we see as essentials, so once in a while they can use money to get something that others would never buy unless they had money to spare.

And for the guy who was complaining that welfare women kept having babies so their checks would increase is 15 years out of date. Since 1996-7, another baby does not increase the welfare grant by one penny.

I am not "defending" poor people per se. Any large group of people is going to include some folks out at the edges of the bell curve, extremes of physical or mental condition --at both ends, good or bad, smart or stupid, athletic or disabled, fat or thin, healthy or ill, etc. You can find an example of anything you want in a large group. I suggest you not generalize that everyone in a group fits into the same mold.

Let me add, some major disabilities are not visible to the naked eye.


Posted by: violet6 | March 7, 2011 11:34 PM | Report abuse

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