Congressional leaders need to fix Medicaid financing in the Senate bill, according to New York Gov. David Paterson and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. In Politico:
Paterson said the expansion would leave New York $1 billion in the lurch. The state faces a $6.8 billion budget shortfall heading into the 2010 fiscal year.
… In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Schwarzenegger wrote that the legislation would create a “crushing new burden” for a state with a whopping $20.7 billion budget deficit.
My favorite line from that letter: “Unfortunately, under nearly every scenario we can predict, the federal health care reform legislation being debated would cost California’s General Fund an additional $3 billion to $4 billion annually.”
Patterson and Schwarzenegger aren't known for fiscal responsibility, nor are their states. Yet their protest is armed with a new political reality: New mandates are untenable. Their governments simply cannot afford to spend more. In other words, at the state level, the Democrat strategy of throwing taxpayer money at problems has become unsustainable, even for the most permissive governors.