Maine Medicaid to Grow by up to 30,000 Thanks to Federal “Stimulus”?

Maine Medicaid to Grow by up to 30,000 Thanks to Federal “Stimulus”?

January 28, 2009 Posted by Tarren Bragdon - No Comments

The $825 billion (and growing) stimulus package working its way through Congress contains a dramatic expansion of Medicaid, which entitles anyone laid off and receiving unemployment, regardless of income or assets, to be on Medicaid at the federal government’s (read: the taxpayer’s) expense.

Here is a description from a New York Times article about this $11 Billion Medicaid expansion: “With little notice and no public hearings, House Democrats would create a temporary new entitlement allowing workers getting unemployment checks to qualify for Medicaid, the health program for low-income people. Spouses and children could also receive benefits, no matter how much money the family had….Democrats said the current economic crisis did not allow time for public hearings on the legislation.”

Consider this (according to the NYTimes):

  • The economic stimulus bill prevents states from enforcing a means test, saying, “No income or resources test shall be applied with respect to any category of individuals” who become eligible for Medicaid because they are receiving unemployment benefits.
  • The federal government would pay 100 percent of the costs for people enrolled under this option through December 2010.

What incentive would someone on unemployment have to accept a job offer for a position without health benefits (or less than Medicaid-level coverage)?

How much would the federal government expand the dependency culture as a result of providing Medicaid coverage to those at any income or asset level – simply because these individuals receive unemployment for a period of time?

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 30,293 people in Maine receiving unemployment for the most recent week ending January 10, 2009.

That means up to 30,000 more people on Maine Medicaid for this “temporary new entitlement.” 

Lastly, isn’t “temporary entitlement” an oxymoron?