Thursday, February 02, 2006

Get Ready to Tighten Your Belts in North Carolina

Congress has passed a slightly revised new budget and several sectors are going to be hit hard. Sadly, those hit hardest will be those who can least afford it. The elderly, the poor and college students were those targeted.

The year had already started out rocky for the elderly and the poor with the botched implementation of Bush's new Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. The House acted yesterday to make the year even worse for the very people who need to be lifted up, not beaten down. Couple that with the fact that the U.S. Senate is at this minute debating tax cuts for the wealthiest in America, that will wipe out any repair to our deficit the budget cuts will make and it isn't just a slap in the face to these folks, it is full-blown body slam.

What can we expect in North Carolina? The state will be allowed to impose new co-payments and deductibles for those who receive Medicaid assistance. Seniors who transfer assets to family members in order to qualify for Medicaid will have a harder time qualifying for nursing care benefits. States will also be allowed to make other changes to Medicaid and much is not known yet about what these changes might be, but requiring co-pays and payment up front for some services is among the possible changes. States will also be allowed to cut some services for disabled children.

Single moms and dads will find it more difficult to collect child support payments. The bill will stop federal dollars from going to the states to help pay for efforts to collect child support from the non-custodial parent.

College students will find it more difficult to afford student loans. The bill will allow some interest rates charged lenders to fluctuate with the market. Some lenders may pass this along to students.

Mothers receiving assistance from the basic welfare program will also feel a pinch. North Carolina's most at-risk families will now find it more difficult to qualify for and continue receiving this assistance.

So how did the Representatives from North Carolina vote? Robert Peterson at BlueNC compiled this information:

Every Democrat in the House voted against it and 13 Republicans threw their hats in with the Democrats. They didn't do this after the fact, the bill was tied 214-214 until the bitter end. How did NC vote?

1 G.K. Butterfield D ....N
2 Bob Etheridge D .......N
3 Walter Jones R ........N
4 David Price D .........N
5 Virginia Foxx R ....Y
6 Howard Coble R .....Y
7 Mike McIntyre D .......N
8 Robin Hayes R ......Y
9 Sue Myrick R .......Y
10 Patrick McHenry R .Y
11 Charles Taylor R . Y
12 Melvin Watt D ........N
13 Brad Miller D ........N

There is more from The Washington Post.


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