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Obamacare Follies (Cont'd)
Just when you thought Obamacare couldn't get any worse...

"If you like your house, you can keep your house!"
The list of aspects about the ACA that 'weren't thought through very well' continues to grow.

This author's aunt is 55 years old, and lost her job in 2010.  Worse, she was a "1099 employee" (independent contractor) at the time so she didn't qualify for unemployment compensation.  Unable to find new work, she's been living off her savings, selling her silver and china, and living very close to the bone.  All she has left is her house, which she paid off a few years ago (prudently, you'd have thought). 

One of her major monthly expenses has been health insurance, which at her age she dare not let lapse.  So you'd think the advent of the "Affordable Healthcare Act" (Obamacare) would have been welcome.  Wrong!  My aunt doesn't earn enough to qualify for an insurance subsidy under the new plan, so her only alternative is Medicaid. 

But!  Medicaid puts a lien on your house, preventing you from selling it or leaving it to your heirs.  Even if you never use any medical services, an administrative charge of as much as $3500 per month may be charged to your account.  Won't take long to cash in your house at that rate.  Only--you won't get the cash, the government will.

My aunt has a daughter whom she helps take care of, and who stands to inherit her house in case my aunt dies.  This is the way my aunt intends to provide for her in that unfortunate case.  Well, too bad...everyone has to be wards of the state I guess.  The socialist paradise.

"States have the option of recovering all Medicaid benefits from individuals over age 55, including costs for any medical care, not just long-term care benefits."


"For individuals age 55 or older, states are required to seek recovery of payments from the individual's estate for nursing facility services, home and community-based services, and related hospital and prescription drug services. States have the option to recover payments for all other Medicaid services provided to these individuals.."

If my aunt earned a few thousand dollars more, or was 45 years old (or 65) or if she were an immigrant! she'd be allowed to keep her home, plus get a subsidy to help her buy insurance on the exchange.  Such is fairness, according to the ACA.

What's the Presstitutes angle?  Well, wouldn't you know it, the right wing is frantically talking about the ACA stealing jobs, while the left is insisting that the ACA provides superior options for "almost" everyone. 

Both are a bit delusional, but this woman is not:

Beverly Woods of New Hampshire
has been waging a lonely (and doubtless frustrating) campaign over at Daily Kos in order to generate some public awareness on this topic.  Probably it'll become big news a year or two from now when the chickens come home to roost--and take peoples' homes away from them. Homes they spent a lifetime paying off.

What does she have to say about so-called Medicaid Expansion? 
It's worse than you think.

Turns out a couple of states--Oregon and Washington--have tried to address this nightmare.  But there's one small problem: even if states muster the political will to "solve" the problem, legislatures can just as easily change their laws right back the next year and some unlucky people will still lose their homes.  What a time to be alive.

Addendum, 5FEB14: In a classic bit of media disinformation, The Washington Post (the only national media outlet even to address this situation) calls it "scary but improbable" that "After you die, the state could come after your house." Well, they have the scary part right. Improbable? Not so much--and it's not "after you die" either. It's anytime that you might try to sell or rent your house, or try to get a mortgage, or move out of it into an assisted-care facility, etc etc.
It's weird that we have the government bribing people to buy homes on the one hand, and putting liens on them with the other. Cradle to grave indeed.

Addendum, 6 Feb 14: Following Ms Woods' excellent advice, I contacted my aunt's representative in the Virginia House of Delegates (Manoli Loupassi) with a concise and cogent enquiry, and received a form letter in response. Ah....Democracy!

Addendum, 10 Feb 14:  An obvious solution just occurred to this writer (MC):

Why not let people under the poverty line have the option of signing onto the subsidies just as those over the poverty line (or immigrants; see below) can do?  That way the truly destitute can keep Medicaid, while those with assets who happen to have very low income (or who lost their jobs, for example) can protect themselves at a reasonable expense without risking everything they own.

Addendum, 5 March 14:  There's more....even PBS, the most lefty of lefties, admits that immigrants get a better deal than native-born Americans.  Of course PBS manages to twist the facts to blame Republicans in states not expanding Medicaid, but the truth remains that the ACA explicitly privileges immigrants over native-born citizens.  At many lower income levels, immigrants qualify for subsidies while Americans get NOTHING.  This is probably deliberate policy--else it's incompetence--your choice.


Addendum, 5 April '14:  Here's what she's looking at to pay out of pocket.

What say you?

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