So now, if you are poor and sick, but the least bit able-bodied, you better have a job or somehow pay for your own health insurance, because if you don't in many states you're going to be kicked off of Medicaid.
The Trump administration this week established new procedures for states that want to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients and a group of Republican-led states are ready to take advantage of the opportunity they have long sought.
Arkansas, Kentucky, Indiana and at least seven other states want to require “able-bodied” adults to join a jobs program or risk losing the health care services they need. The aim: promote self–reliance and rein in Medicaid costs.
Today, Kentucky became the first state to receive federal approval for its work requirements plan — a day after the Trump administration paved the way forward by outlining guidelines in a letter to Medicaid directors across the country. The requirements apply to working-age people without disabilities. Certain groups, such as pregnant women, are exempt.
While the Department of Health and Human Services says the new rules only apply to work requirements, some states are attempting to go further by penalizing Medicaid beneficiaries who smoke, by imposing new fees for emergency room visits as well as new premiums. Kentucky wants families earning as little as $5,100 to pay Medicaid premiums — and to kick patients out of the program if their payments get 60 days behind.
What kind of country have we become? What are we going to do if somebody can't pay their ER fee? Kick them out to the street?
Tough, you say. They should get a job. They shouldn't smoke. They shouldn't do drugs. They shouldn't be fat. Why should we pay for them?
The Medicaid program was created years ago to provide a safety net for those in need, to prevent this sort of thing from happening. Has it been abused? Sure. You can sit in an emergency room and see a Medicaid patient with expensive tattoos or a flashy gold chain and wonder how they can afford that if they have to be on Medicaid. I'm not saying that's right, but I am saying that people in need who have no other resource should not be tossed to the curb if they are sick.
A lot of this sentiment may be race-based. But the statistics show that in many states, Kentucky, Arkansas and Indiana included, by far the majority of non-elderly people on Medicaid are poor Whites, not Blacks or Hispanics. So get that image out of your head.
Is this how we #MAGA? I don't think so.