The state of Indiana just denied life-saving surgery to a six month old after making deep budget cuts to their state health care safety net. The surgery saved the lives of 58 of the last 60 kids to get it. "Too bad, kiddo, we can't afford it."
Except, they can. Easily. We know this because of how much Indiana politicians are throwing -- excuse me, shoveling -- at the failed Afghanistan War.
The surgery that could save Seth Petreikis' life costs $500,000, which is ridiculous on its own. (That's half of what it costs to send a troop to Afghanistan for a year, by the way.) The state says it can't afford it after making more than a billion dollars in health-related budget cuts. The thing is, taxpayers in Indiana will pay $1.8 billion for proposed Afghanistan war spending for FY2011, far more than the cuts. And none -- none -- of the state's Members of Congress or U.S. senators voted against the most recent war funding bill.
Indiana State Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley (R) is talking about even more drastic budget cuts for kids like Seth -- even opting his state out of Medicaid altogether. He says "We can't afford it. We have to be serious about finding alternatives."
Hey, I've got an alternative for you, Kenley. How about you and the rest of your state's politicians get their priorities in order? You can afford it. You guys just don't think it's as important as wasting money on a war that's already killed or wounded 217 people from Indiana so far.
Bring home one troop from Afghanistan for six months and save Seth Petreikis' life. There's your alternative.
We need our politicians focused on fixing our problems here at home, not on costly, failed war in Afghanistan.