The Face of Medicaid

Medicaid is more than a political football.

People who have disabilities and serious and/or chronic illnesses are not able to work or get ahead in the world.  The focus is more on day to day survival rather than things many of us take for granted like school or work. Others were born into poverty and have not been able to get out for many complex reasons. Some have outlived their assets and require assistance to get out of bed or to get to the bathroom.  Many have limited support systems to rely on when they are sick or recovering from an episode or surgery. Some individuals are in nursing homes and have spent down any savings they had accrued.
I see Medicaid as seniors in subsidized housing who have multiple medical problems, some from the wear and tear from years of physical labor in a factory or construction job, in addition to other health problems that arise (cancer, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis to name a few) and require early retirement before one is eligible for benefits.

Medicaid is visible on inner city bus stops, individuals talking to themselves or walking with walkers or canes.  They worked as checkers at Pick N Save, home health aides and teacher aides, and child care workers. Some left the workforce to care for other relatives. Some are recent immigrants living an isolated existence with younger more acculturated adult children.

The application process is involved. There are rigorous requirements for documentation of no assets.  Very few exceptions are made when counting assets, including really only a home if you are living there and a irrevocable burial trust.  The system is overwhelmed and turnover is very high in the data entry areas of eligibility work. Many people who apply are turned down because they don’t have the faculties to track down verification of a small life insurance policy.
I recently heard it stated that “Healthy communities rely on Medicaid”.  It’s true.  Believe it!  There is currently talk of required drug testing and work requirements.  These will further muck up the system and are unlikely to make anyone’s life any better.  The vast majority of people on Medicaid want to work but can’t.
Be sure to contact your representatives and let them know you support Medicaid in it’s current form.

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