Archive for October 2020

Joe Biden is Captive of the Left – By George J. Marlin

October 22, 2020

The following appeared on Monday, October 19, 2020 on The Island Now’s website:

Since the Democratic Convention adjourned in July, The New York Times and its media allies have been depicting Joe Biden as a “pragmatic moderate.”

True, there was a time when Sen. Joe Biden was something of a centrist.

In 1973, he criticized Roe v. Wade for going too far. He was an avid supporter of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibited the use of federal funds to pay for abortions.

During the Reagan years, he supported the Kemp-Roth tax cuts, voted for the president’s budget and tax reduction bill, and supported Reagan’s call for the line-item budget veto.

Biden boasted that the National Taxpayers Association rated him the “sixth most fiscally conservative senator.”

During the 1990s, Biden voted for the Clinton-Gingrich Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, which President Clinton declared “ended welfare as we know it.”

Biden was an enthusiastic proponent of the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act.

The Senate version of the bill, which approved funding to hire 100,000 new cops and $6.1 billion to build prisons, was drafted by Biden with the input of the National Association of Police Organizations and was known as the Biden Crime Bill.

However, this year Biden—succumbing to the pressure from the radical wing of his party—repudiated his support of the Hyde Amendment and the 1990s Welfare Reform and Crime laws. Drug addicts, he now holds, have a disease, hence “no one should be in prison because they use drugs.”

And contrary to his denial in the first presidential debate, Biden embraced a radical leftist platform that has been memorialized in the Biden-Sanders “Unity Manifesto.”

In that 110-page document, Biden agreed to support Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s $93 trillion Green New Deal, which calls for the elimination of the use of all fossil fuels by 2035 and the immediate end of fracking.

Biden bought into Sander’s “Medicare for all” via an installment plan that would eventually drive private insurance companies out of business—and leave hundreds of thousands unemployed—because, as a Wall Street Journal editorial noted, “it would further inflate the cost of private plans by making them to pay more to compensate for the government’s underpayments to hospitals and doctors.”

The manifesto endorses free college tuition, free breakfasts, lunches and dinners for public school students, forgiveness of student loans, wealth redistribution, higher taxes, federal takeover of local zoning laws, defunding of the police departments, and the replacement of law enforcement officers with social workers.

It calls for the elimination of shareholder capitalism, charter schools and cash bail.

After releasing the manifesto, Sen. Bernie Sanders boasted, “I think if those task force proposals are implemented … Joe Biden will become the most progressive president since Franklin D. Roosevelt.”

The Wall Street Journal agreed. An editorial called the Biden-Sanders manifesto, “the most radical policy document of either major party in our lifetime. It leaps to the left of the Obama administration on nearly every policy area, from education to taxes to climate change.”

Then there is the issue of the Supreme Court. Many Democratic members of Congress have called for adding more justices to the court to ensure it is dominated by leftists.

With public opinion surveys indicating that over 70 percent of Americans oppose packing the court, one would think Biden would state his position on the issue.

But that has not been the case.

When asked to tell the American people his take on the issue, he said, “They’ll know my position on court packing when the election is over.”

On another occasion, after a reporter asked Biden, “Well, sir don’t the voters deserve to know where you stand…”, Biden cut him off and said, “No they don’t.”

Since then Biden has backed off, saying he would give an answer before Election Day depending on how the Judge Barrett vote goes in the Senate.

Nevertheless, the Latin legal maxim is Qui tacet consentire —“Silence gives consent.” Hence, I can only assume Biden’s silence on the issue means he supports packing the court.

Joe Biden is not a “pragmatic moderate.” He has surrendered to the far left to obtain a lease on the White House. If elected, his administration will be dominated by big government bureaucrats intent on controlling every aspect of our lives.

Elections, like policies, have consequences. Voters should be prepared for the consequences of policies Biden will impose if they elect him president.

How to Save New York City From Mayor de Blasio – By George J. Marlin

October 20, 2020

This article I wrote appeared on the web site on Tuesday, October 20, 2020.

Book Review of George Marlin’s new book Mario Cuomo: The Myth and the Man – By Fr. Gerald E. Murray

October 17, 2020

This book review of Mario Cuomo: The Myth and the Man by Fr. Gerald E. Murray, appeared on the Catholic Thing web site on Saturday, October 17, 2020.

Mario Cuomo’s Gift to Joe Biden – By George J. Marlin

October 10, 2020

This article I wrote appeared on The Catholic Thing web site on Saturday, October 10, 2020.

New York State’s Medicaid Program Failing – By George J. Marlin

October 9, 2020

The following appeared on Monday, October 5, 2020 on The Island Now’s website:

Time and again Gov. Andrew Cuomo has pledged to root out structural waste and inefficiencies in state government in general and, in particular, Medicaid.

In his 2010 book, “The New N.Y. Agenda: A Plan for Action,” Cuomo noted in a section titled “Make Medicaid More Efficient”:

“New York will spend almost $52 billion on Medicaid in 2010-11, including federal, state and local funding. State operating funds spending on Medicaid is projected to grow by another $1.8 billion in the 2011-12 fiscal year. New York must find a way to bring its Medicaid costs more in line with that of other states if we are to control overall state spending. New York state spends 69 percent more per beneficiary than the national average. New York’s Medicaid program suffers from spiraling costs, inadequate outcomes and widespread inefficiency.”

He added: “We need fundamental restructuring of Medicaid that looks to achieve long-term efficiencies and focuses on services that actually improve the health outcomes of New Yorkers.”

After 10 years in office, however, it doesn’t appear the governor has made much progress in taming the Medicaid leviathan.

In 2011, with 6 percent of the nation’s population, New York consumed 23 percent of the nation’s Medicaid spending. “By 2016,” Bill Hammond of the Empire Center for Public Policy, has reported, “New York had surged to 40 percent — and its spending has more than doubled since then.”

Total Medicaid spending for the state’s 2020-2021 fiscal year is projected to hit $80.3 billion.

That’s up 63 percent since 2010, well above the rate of inflation.

Granted, some of the growth is due to the COVID pandemic. However, hair-raising audits released by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office in September, indicate there is plenty of mismanagement, fraud and inefficiencies.

The DiNapoli audits found more than $700 million in unnecessary costs and overpayments. Here’s a summary of the findings:

The state’s Department of Health has not developed “sufficient controls and oversight to ensure the most effective delivery of pharmacy services under managed care.” The DOH failed to procure the lowest net cost drugs. By failing to establish proper procedures, the auditors estimated that between Jan. 1, 2016 and Dec. 31, 2019, $605 million was squandered on unnecessary drug costs.

Due to the failure to track Medicaid recipients who had multiple Client Identification Numbers (CIN) assigned to them, there were duplication of payments. The audit “found DOH made $47.8 million in improper payments on behalf of recipients with multiple CINs for the period Jan. 1, 2014 through March 31, 2019.”

The transmission of inaccurate or incompetent enrollment information “resulted in $11.7 million in improper payments on behalf of 1,096 recipients who had terminated coverage and another $4.9 million in improper and questionable payments was identified for 319 recipients who died.”

As for reimbursement payments to various Medicaid providers, the audit discovered improper payments to the tune of $15.4 million.

Auditors identified “$29 million in improper Medicaid payments for drugs dispensed after they had been removed from the market for safety or commercial reasons.”

Over $700 million of taxpayers’ dollars misspent. And there might be a lot more that was wasted because auditors only perform sampling tests. For example, they do not review every one of the 244 million claims for payments that were filed with the DOH between March 2019 and September 2019.

In other words, the inappropriate disbursements and overpayments that the auditors discovered may be only the tip of the Medicaid “iceberg.”

In releasing his Medicaid audit findings, DiNapoli declared “The state is facing budget gaps of billions of dollars because of the COVID-19 crisis and needs to find cost savings wherever it can. Hundreds of millions of dollars could be saved with better financial and management controls over the state’s Medicaid program.”

And before Albany Democrats impose tax increases on struggling New Yorkers to pay for the damage caused by Cuomo’s shutdown of the economy, they should heed DiNapoli’s “cri de coeur” and clean out incompetent and corrupt bureaucrats and right-size New York’s bloated government and failing Medicaid system.