Thursday, December 20, 2007

Just One Goal

The Lexington Herald Leader jumps on the Fletcher administration's handling of the Medicaid program this morning.
You'd think someone would be keeping track of whether reforms affecting all that money (for fiscal year 2006, about $1 billion from Kentucky's General Fund and $3.3 billion in federal funds) was being spent effectively.

You'd think wrong. Neither the cabinet administering the program nor the governor's office to which it answered nor the legislature that passed the budgets funding the program seemed to know what was going on.

The politics of this is very much beside the point.

The only way to gain anything from this is to recognize the need for greater transparency in our government agencies. There is already a bill, pre-filed by a House Republican, that starts to address this issue. Rather than just kill it for partisan reasons, House Dems should expand it.

Medicaid's accounting issues are miniscule compared to the public employee benefits programs that have been allowed to go underfunded for decades. Now everyone is starting to pay attention because the black hole we have there threatens to swallow up the entire state.

Both of these problems -- and many others -- will benefit from a full-court press toward putting all the state's checkbooks online.