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The [Friday] Papers

Illinois just cut $1.6 billion in Medicaid spending in part by tightening up eligibility and leaving thousands of needy citizens on the sidelines. Now, under Obamacare, Medicaid eligibility will be expanded, as explained in part by the Tribune this morning.

The good news, in a manner of speaking, is that the federal government will pick up the costs of the Medicaid expansion through 2016, when states will have to start contributing to the additional cost.

And that's when things may get ugly - though they'll get uglier much sooner for states that opt out of the expansion.

One result may be the eventual full takeover of Medicaid by the federal government, which is probably where Medicaid should reside anyway.


"Some health care providers added that Medicaid expansion alone won't remedy systemic problems with health care delivery," the Tribune reports.

"'We have fewer and fewer providers in Illinois who will accept Medicaid payment for provision of services,' said Dr. Claudia Fegan, past president of the Chicago-based Physicians for a National Health Program, which advocates a single-payer system. 'It's like giving somebody a credit card with no credit on it . . . You're going to tell people, Now you're entitled to health care, but they can't go anyplace to get that care. People are already struggling to find a provider who will accept Medicaid.'"


"About 100,000 of [Cook] county's poorest residents could gain Medicaid coverage as soon as next month if federal officials approve a waiver sought by the county hospital system to begin enrolling uninsured patients earlier. Along with that request, the county is seeking $70 million a year in new federal reimbursements."

Words Matter
The problem with John Roberts' convoluted ruling isn't that he has pulled off the covers to show us that the mandate at the core of Obamacare is a tax, as argued by John Kass and many other conservatives, but that the fine for not purchasing a private health insurance policy most assuredly isn't a tax. Not by any stretch of the imagination except the one made by Roberts and joined by the liberal wing of the court.

Folks buying health insurance under the new law who previously did not do so are not handing their money over to the federal government; they are handing their money over - under coercion of the federal government - to private companies. That is not a tax, and that isn't even being argued as such.

What is now construed as a tax for whatever convenience Roberts found necessary to achieve is the fine for those who do not purchase insurance - unless you want to argue that private insurance companies are now tax-collecting intermediaries.

Mopes of the Year
The machinations of most mopes are mostly mundane.

Such is the case of former alderman Ambrosio Medrano and former Cook County commissioner Joseph Moreno, who were both charged on Thursday with allegedly participating in bribery and kickback schemes involving bandages at Stroger Hospital and a waste transfer station in Cicero.

They saw their boring-ass opportunities and they took 'em.


"For Medrano, his arrest Thursday had to bring back bitter memories," the Tribune reports. "Almost exactly 16 years ago, the Chicago alderman was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for bribery in another federal courtroom as part of the undercover Operation Silver Shovel probe."

Mopus operandus.


At least Moreno added his own twist on an old local saying, thereby earning a spot on an illustrious list of famous Chicago political utterances, just under Arenda Troutman's.

"I don't want to be a hog; I just want to be a pig," Moreno is alleged to have explained to the businessman, who was secretly cooperating with federal authorities and recording their conversations. "Hogs get slaughtered; pigs get fat."

Mission accomplished.


The Sun-Times has a much longer, more detailed account that includes this Moreno riff.

In one exchange captured on tape, Moreno allegedly tells a cooperator about the benefit of putting vacant property back on the tax rolls.

"And you make money, and you make money," the cooperator adds.

"Abso-fucking-lutely," Moreno replies, according to charges.

(I filled in the "uck" that the Sun-Times left out, apparently on the grounds that sensitive readers who would be disturbed by such a word won't be able to fill in the paper's blanks and will therefore be spared, or perhaps because impressionable young children who might otherwise never know such a word will be scarred by having chosen to read a story about Joe Moreno and Ambrosio Medrano.)

The Sun-Times also notes in a separate story that "Over the years, Moreno has been seen as a loyal, so-called Machine Democrat close to Chicago Ald. Ed Burke (14th) and fellow Commissioner John Daley. As a commissioner, Moreno shared county office space with Daley."

Master Morgue Mopes
"An Illinois Department of Labor investigation has found nearly two dozen problems at the Cook County morgue - from trays damaged by falling bodies to shortcomings in vaccinating employees against serious diseases they could encounter on the job," the Tribune reports.

The place was never the same after they hired Bill Blazejowski.


Master Madman
"MasterChef judge Graham Elliot recently kicked ABC Chicago food critic Steve Dolinsky out of his newly opened g. e. b., not because he was particularly disrespectful to Graham, but because he once live-tweeted his way through a meal at Charlie Trotter's documenting how terrible it was," The Braiser reports.

I'd suggest that ABC retaliate by blocking transmission of its broadcast to the Elliot residence, but that wouldn't exactly be a big loss.

Still, Graham Elliot is Today's Worst Person In Chicago.

The Week in Chicago Rock
Short but solid.

Clearance Clarence
The runway lights are back on at Midway.

This patronage employee was found to be the problem.


Steve McCroskey later ordered workers to pour every light they had on that runway.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Good luck, we're counting on you.


Posted on June 29, 2012

MUSIC - Madonna vs. Moderna.
TV - Sundays With The Military-Industrial Complex.
POLITICS - Private Equity In The ER.
SPORTS - Suspicious Betting Trends In Soccer.

BOOKS - China Holding Swedish Publisher.


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