Friday, May 5, 2017

Avoid winning the lottery - you will lose your free healthcare

An amazing 6% of the pages of the new House-passed “healthcare” reform bill (some 175 lines) is devoted to disqualifying individuals from Medicaid who win lotteries, provided that the amounts they win exceed [lots of conditions] and it’s not meant to penalize others who are eligible in the same household.

Medicaid is a state and federal program intended to provide healthcare services to low-income individuals. But if you win the lottery, so goes the GOP House’s reasoning, you should be able to buy your own health insurance. I expect you agree with that, right?

But this exposes one of the greatest flaws of the now-dying Affordable Care Act of 2010. The ACA opened up enrollment for millions of individuals into taxpayer-paid coverage under Medicaid regardless of how much money that person has, houses owned, cars in the garage, or boats on the lake. Conceivably, under the ACA, a Medicaid recipient can have millions in assets and still receive taxpayer-paid healthcare.

The ACA had many flaws, but to me, this is among the most egregious. Why should taxpayers have to pick up the medical bills of people who have tens of thousands, or more, in assets, while working people have to not only ante up for insurance premiums, but also to pay higher taxes to provide free coverage to rich people?

It appears that if HR 1628 (the bill the Federal House of Representatives passed on May 4) were to move forward as is, those Medicaid enrollees with high valued assets will still qualify for taxpayer-paid healthcare coverage – and that is wrong. Of course, these individuals will have to quit buying lottery tickets, or they might lose their coverage.

CONSTITUTIONAL FOOTNOTE: What no one seems to want to challenge is the fact that there is no explicit enumerated power in the United States Constitution that gives the federal government any authority to write legislation that deals with individual healthcare. But who cares about the Constitution anymore.

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