A couple of items flagged by the Indiana Law Blog in today’s newspapers make Gov. Daniels look pretty bad.
Item the first: Eric Bradner, writing for the Evansville Courier Press notes the tangled web Gov. Daniels is trying to squirm out of with respect to the welfare eligibility privatization effort that blew up on him so thoroughly.
More than six months after Daniels canceled the 10-year, $1.37 billion contract between the Family and Social Services Administration and IBM, the state wants back the more than $400 million it paid. IBM wants to keep that money and says the state owes it $50 million more.
O.k., so claim v. counter-claim in a contract dispute. No big deal. As some wag put it, “a contract is a good starting point in negotiations.” The fun part is that Gov. Daniels spent so long telling us nothing was going wrong with the privatization effort that IBM can now use his statements in its own defense against the State’s claims that IBM should have to pay back some of the gobs of money it received for making things worse.
Item the second: The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette calls out Gov. Daniels for the ridiculous doomsday projection he commissioned for Indiana’s burden under the new federal health care plan. Writing for the Evansville Courier Press, the seemingly ubiquitous Eric Bradner dissected this thing (as even handedly as possible) a few days ago. The analysis doesn’t account for the fact that the current state program and its $140 million per year will probably be dissolved in the wake of the national plan. It anticipates paying doctors more than is required under the federal law. It doesn’t account for the fact that the wider eligibility will draw in participants who are cheaper to care for than current Medicaid participants. It doesn’t account for savings from the healthcare for the indigent plan which would likely become less necessary. It assumes 24% of the population on the Medicaid rolls. And, it doesn’t account for the costs of doing nothing.
The Governor’s analysis is a political document. He is ideologically, or at least politically, opposed to healthcare reform – at least to the extent it reflects well on President Obama – and, therefore, he commissioned a report that would make it look bad. These are calculations shaped around a predetermined policy position. We know from Gov. Daniels’ prior history as director of the Bush Office of Management and Budget that he has trouble with numbers when they get in the way of his preferred policy outcomes. We’re still paying through the nose for his Iraq numbers. Maybe if we’d had calculations that were accurate within an order of magnitude we would not have gotten into that quagmire. But, of course, pretty much the entire point of the lowball numbers were to grease the skids to war.