A Jewish Telegraphic Agency dispatch from Washington provides a fascinating look at how government programs turn religious and non-profit groups into partners of the government: "President Obama signed an extension of vital Medicaid funding, which was a top priority of the Jewish community....The six-month extension of FMAP had been a priority of the Jewish Federations of North America, as 60 cents on every dollar of public revenue brought in by the federations or their partner agencies comes from Medicaid. Nearly $6 billion per year in government aid goes to Jewish hospitals, nursing homes, Jewish Family Service outposts and other social service agencies through Medicaid....The FMAP money will prevent cuts that could have cost the Jewish community $150 million to $200 million in social services funding."
I'm not criticizing this; the government probably gets a better bang for the buck by partnering with religious non-profits, and the patients get better treatment. But there's no free lunch. The unrelenting pressure for increased health care spending has costs that are felt in the rest of the federal budget, costs that end up being paid for by taxes or by borrowing that will be either inflated away or paid off by future generations or both. And let me say as a member of "the Jewish community" I had no idea that extending Medicaid funding was one of my top priorities until I read this dispatch.
Thanks to FutureOfCapitalism reader-participant-watchdog-community member-content co-creator R. for sending the link.