Getting the middle class and wealthy off welfare

Today’s Human Events has an article from John Gizzi on the Wyden Brown bill being supported by President Obama. This bill would allow individual states to craft their own style of ObamaCare. The only freedom states have is in the type of universal healthcare they create, not whether or not to make this radical change in the first place.

“In other words, this will allow the states to follow their own path toward health care so long as that path leads to the same goal that is reached by the ‘Affordable Care Act’-ObamaCare,” said Bill Felkner, director of policy for the Ocean State Policy Research Institute, the Rhode Island-based think tank that has long been in the forefront of calls for waivers for the states to work out fresh solutions to the problems of Medicaid and other health care issues.

Felkner explained that the measure the President endorsed yesterday (and Carney later explained) “will allow states to set up an exchange, or set up a single-payer program or anything else, as long as they end up in the same place as set out in ObamaCare.

“And that means dictating to the provider, taking the consumer out of the picture, and no free-market competition.

You can read the entire article HERE.

It probably shouldn’t surprise us that Democrat Senator Wyden (Oregon) and Republican (the only R co-sponsor) Senator Brown (Massachusetts), with co-author Socialist Senator Sanders (Vermont) come from states that already have some form of “ObamaCare.” This bill would allow them to continue with their own version, which is fine, but it also requires all other states to create their own programs that will meet the Affordable Care Act goals.

And most importantly, as I point out in the article, the bill does not allow substantive freedoms to the states such that they may deal with the largest driver of healthcare costs – long term care via Medicaid.

One interesting note to make here is that when the Stimulus money flooded into the states, the Medicaid portion had a bonus of about 6% but it came with strings – the state could not change eligibility requirements of recipients. As an example, the current Medicaid system allows someone with millions of dollars in a trust fund to qualify for taxpayer funded healthcare because they technically have a low “income” (and, yes, this is happening right her in RI). We may all agree this is silly, but we can’t change the rules of eligibility.

This is only one example of how the state uses tax dollars to provide healthcare for the middle class and wealthy – we outlined much more in our report, Doing Long Term Care RIght, released last  year.

But as the stimulus strings go away, ObamaCare takes up the slack.  The Affordable Care Act also restricts states from altering the eligibility requirements. This means that the number of people on the system will continue to increase and leave few options for saving money.

In short, there are three things legislators can do to save money on healthcare
1) cut the payments to providers – results in poor quality providers.
2) cut services provided – results in poor quality care.
3) cut the number of people given services –  results in only using taxdollars for those who really need it.

Interesting fact we outlined in our report – “Over 80 percent of seniors own their homes and over 70 percent of these own their homes free and clear. State staff told us 1,140 LTC recipients (Medicaid) or only about 12.7 percent of the caseload still own homes.”

Where did all those homes (assets) go????  The “disappearing asset” issue is a result of the perverted system of Medicaid, which says if you can hide your assets (simply by transferring ownership to children sometimes) then the taxpayers will pay for your healthcare.

We must remove those who can afford to take care of themselves from the Medicaid roles. Otherwise we will all be doomed to healthcare provided by inferior providers only offering limited services.

Read (or re-read) our report, Doing Long Term Care RIght, and talk to your friends, neighbors, and legislators about it. We can’t ignore the problem any longer.

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