Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Confessions Of An Emerging Liberal (Or Something Close)

I am a Medicaid customer. I say "customer," for reasons that will become clear. In some sense, I am not what I regarded as the target group for Medicaid: desperately poor people with no health insurance of any kind, and thus, no regular access to health care services. I am participating in Medicaid because Medicare does not pay for personal care assistance, and those costs can get prohibitive for persons with disabilities. That is, choosing between eating and personal care kind of prohibitive.

I have been successful in recent days in expanding my income beyond my Social Security Disability Income (Yay for me!) But did you know that we pay for Medicare out of Social Security? Part of every Social Security check has a withholding for Medicare. Medicare is not free. Anything in the way of rhetoric suggesting that Medicare is simply spending by the federal government is false. It amounts to a premium, like any other insurance.

Medicaid works in a similar way. There is something called a "spend-down," which is essentially a deductible. One must pay this amount every month, and then any cost above this incurred by the customer is paid by Medicaid.

Let me put it this way: If I'm paying $240 per month for Medicare and Medicaid, our elected officials owe me what I'm paying for. Even if the money I'm paying with came from the blood, sweat, and tears of my father or someone else's. We're all in this together, and into each other for some amount of money somehow.

Any Republican governor who refuses federal funds for Medicaid expansion as some heroic stand against government spending is either stupid, (possible) dishonest, (very possible) or cruel (I'd like not to think so).

We need to stop acting like "government program" means, "handing out free money for ne'er-do-wells to go to the casino, in between naps on the couch."

And while I'm here, maybe we should have the food stamp discussion *after* we are absolutely certain that everyone receiving them is morally at fault somehow, and not before. I digress.

I can see why "Uncle Bernie" advocates for Medicare for all. We always seem to have money to drop bombs on innocent children somewhere. Is that too direct? Sorry.