Governor Taft's refusal to take advantage of federal funds to treat poor women needing treatment for breast and uterine cancer is callous and unwise.
This bad decision makes monsters of every Ohioan, who will be responsible in the end for telling women in their midst each year that they must suffer with their fatal disease and perhaps die of it because Ohioans view them as a drain on the state's economy.
The federal government pays $3.2 million for screening for these cancers. Were Ohio to set aside a mere $435,000 in the state budget, the state could attract more than $1 million in federal funds to treat uninsured women between 40 and 64 whose incomes are too high to qualify for Medicaid, the state-federal medical plan for the poorest of people. Covered, for example, would be women who earn $22,000 a year and have two children.
While state officials, alarmed at soaring Medicaid costs, are reluctant to expand the program, they might consider that fewer of these women would exhaust any savings, quit their jobs to become eligible for Medicaid, and require family support payments as well.
The Centers for Disease Control says women without health insurance are 40 percent more likely to die of breast cancer than do those with insurance.
The governor's tight pockets must be loosened, despite his nervous-nellie tics over his less-than-innovative school funding plan and the bite it will take from the budget.
Perhaps pressure from U.S. Reps. Sherrod Brown of Lorain - a potential gubernatorial candidate next year - and Ted Strickland of Lucasville, both of whom helped craft the law letting states offer treatment services, is not persuasive because of who they are.
But let Mr. Taft look in the eye of any store clerk or cleaning woman in Ohio, and let him tell her he'd rather she die than find money to save her. Then let him look in his wife's eyes and tell her what he has done.
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