Jeb Bush sides with brother against states

Posted: Monday, March 03, 2003

The National Governors Association is a very exclusive club. Membership is limited to 50, and every one has to win a state election. The members, now split 26-24 between Republicans and Democrats, tend to be all for one and one for all for the good of their states.

Except one. Gov. Bush is the club malcontent. Other members generally agree that they need more help from Washington to pay for Medicaid, homeland security and President Bush's ''No Child Left Behind'' school law. Collectively, states face a $30 billion shortage in this year's budgets and $82 billion next year. Instead of hitting up President Bush for a handout, Gov. Bush says, they should be helping him reform Medicaid and Medicare. Anything else, he preaches, amounts to ''big government.''

That's a pretty bossy attitude to take with 49 people who seem to understand who voted for them and why. It's also premature to make the comment while President Bush's plans are incomplete. He heard that his original ideas won't work and won't fly in Congress.

...President Bush didn't offer more money for Medicaid, which the states administer. Half to three-fourths of the money for the program is federal; the percentage varies by state. Instead, the president offered ''flexibility'' in spending it. That means: When an elderly woman has to be told to cut her blood pressure medication in half -- the example comes from Arkansas' Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee, who said he won't do it -- don't blame the president. Blame the 50 governors.

One is eager to take the blame. A man will do that for his brother.

-- The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post

Feb. 25



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