FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
#Obamacare’s expanded Medicaid asset seizure bonanza.
Hey, you had to pass the act to find out what was in it:
It wasn’t the moonlight, holiday-season euphoria or family pressure that made Sofia Prins and Gary Balhorn, both 62, suddenly decide to get married.
It was the fine print.
As fine print is wont to do, it had buried itself in a long form — Balhorn’s application for free health insurance through the expanded state Medicaid program. As the paperwork lay on the dining-room table in Port Townsend, Prins began reading.
She was shocked: If you’re 55 or over, Medicaid can come back after you’re dead and bill your estate for ordinary health-care expenses.
Basically, the problem is that the Democrats, in their infinite wisdom, decided to drastically expand the Medicaid rolls without considering the consequences – one of which being, state governments have been long in the habit of trying to get at the remnants of Medicaid recipients’ estates in order to cut costs. That’s arguably* not even an entirely horrible policy – ‘free’ health care is never free – but the problem is that policies created to handle the situation of, say, an 85 year old woman with mild dementia and no relatives are now going to be applied to, say, two reasonably healthy retirees in their early sixties. Sufficiently so that – in this not actually hypothetical case – they have to now go get married, in order to avoid going on Medicaid. You see, in order to get a subsidy for an Obamacare plan people have to be making neither too much, nor too little. People who make too little are expected to go onto Medicaid by the federal government; they certainly aren’t going to get any kind of subsidy for their new health care plan. And, of course, the new, ‘improved’ plans are notorious for their higher costs, sky-high deductibles, and god-awful networks, so if you’re already on a budget… well.
This is not a bug in the system, ladies and gentlemen. This is the system.
Now, Washington State is promising that they’re going to fix the situation – no doubt it’s on their punch list, right after Stop having the exchange raid people’s bank accounts - but that’s Washington State. Is your state one that seizes assets of deceased Medicaid patients? Do they know about the problem? Do they even care? – Because there’s money in this, for those states that were dumb enough to sign up for Obamacare’s expanded Medicaid provisions. There’s potentially a lot of money. Or at least enough to keep the whole thing from crashing immediately, once the federal government cuts its contributions to state Medicaid programs.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: Hot Air (H/T) has a darkly entertaining link to a dKos diary where they’re twitching and trying their best not to freak out at precisely this situation. Sufficiently so that I believe that the diarist is legitimately worried about the situation, and so will not mock him/her for it**: yes, it’s that bad.
*I mean ‘arguably’ in the sense of ‘you can construct a specific argument defending this happening under a rigidly defined set of circumstances,’ not ‘we should totally do this everywhere, every time.’
**But I will still note that this is why we do not pass legislation until we know what is in it and how it can go wrong.