You can’t make this stuff up. Gov. Christie needs to give more tax cuts to the rich so he enacts draconian methods to take Medicaid away from families making $6000.00 per year, according to Think Progress. This is nothing short of real death panels.
Despite recent polls that show Americans are just as protective of Medicaid as they are of Medicare, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is trying to gut the popular program in his state and prevent 23,000 people from receiving benefits. Christie has proposed cutting Medicaideligibility to absurdly low levels: from the current maximum income of $24,645 to $5,317 a year for a family of three. Apparently, the governor believes a family of three making $6,000 a year is simply too rich to receive Medicaid.
The New Jersey press has reported that the main effect of his proposal would be to slash help for the working poor, tearing a huge hole in the state’s social safety net:
Adults in a family of three that makes as little as $103 a week would earn too much to qualify for health care provided by Medicaid under a sharply curtailed program Gov. Chris Christie wants the federal government to approve this year, according to state officials and advocates briefed on the proposal.[…]
The Christie administration is expected to propose cutting the maximum income level of Medicaid from $24,645 to $5,317 a year for a family of three […]
“That is about a third of the poverty level,” Castro said. “That means that an uninsured parent working full time at a minimum-wage job wouldn’t be eligible. … A parent who works half-time for minimum wage wouldn’t even qualify.
“Unfortunately, the only way these parents can become eligible for health coverage in the future is if the parent applies for and is eligible for welfare,” Castro added. “That sends the wrong message.”
Democratic lawmakers are furious that Christie is insisting on making $300 million in cuts on the backs of poor and disabled residents. They point out that apart from the morally bankrupt idea of denying care to the neediest population, having more people uninsured will ultimately be more costly for New Jersey.
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Despite the Republican propensity to compare the Affordable Care Act to something akin to the antichrist, word is that GOP budget leader, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), will propose a dramatic change in the Medicare program that will closely mirror the key features of Obamacare – only for seniors.
The proposal would do away with (for everyone presently under 55 years of age) the current single payer government system for senior medical care and replace it with a program whereby seniors would choose private health insurance coverage from a menu of approved private health insurers. The government would subsidize the program by giving seniors a voucher to be used in purchasing coverage, the amount of such payment to be defined according to need.
Does any of this sound familiar?
While the terminology may be different, it seems particularly reasonable to assume that the word “menu” is code for “health care exchange”. And while the word “voucher” plays well with the GOP base, it is really no different from the subsidies the ACA will pay to those under 65 who purchase health insurance.
Unfortunately, while Ryan has emulated a number of features from the ACA, he’s forgotten to make the adjustments the law makes to actually ensure that health care is more accessible to beneficiaries rather than more profitable to health insurance companies.
Making private insurance work for the younger demographics is far easier than trying to make it work for the elderly due to the most basic tenet of health insurance – the insurance pool must be balanced by having 80 healthy people in the pool to pay for every 20 who are ill.
Given that most Americans 65 and older are a walking pre-existing medical condition, it is difficult to imagine how functioning insurance pools can be constructed from a universe filled with these people. It is equally hard to see how health insurers could offer such a plan without severely restricting the benefits offered or, in the alternative, charging very large premiums – unless the government is prepared to put large enough subsidy checks in the pockets of the insurers to cover the extra costs.
So, although Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann’s accusation of “death panels” under health care reform were lies, it seems that something similar may be in the works via the states cutting Medicaid or the Debt commission suggestion of cutting Social Security and Medicare…
Today’s upcoming report by the White House’s fiscal commission is expected to include recommendations to raise the retirement age for Social Security and cut Medicare benefits — two policy prescriptions that will be met with deep opposition from Democrats and some Republicans — according to a source who has been briefed on the proposal.
The chairmen of the commission will unveil their overarching recommendations for debt and deficit reduction on Wednesday afternoon, weeks before the official unveiling is expected.
The findings are not the final report of the commission, officially known as the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Rather they are the specific suggestions of its two chairs, former Sen. Alan Simpson and former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles. The ultimate findings will require the support of 14 members of the 18-member commission. And at this juncture it is unclear if the votes are there, sources familiar with deliberation say.
In the process of pursuing their reforms for Social Security and Medicare, the commission chairs are expected to suggest that the end result will be a 70 percent cut in benefits and 30 percent increase in revenues, according to the source familiar with the upcoming announcement.
“What a crazy proposal, what a crazy proposal,” said a Democratic source briefed on the findings. “I expect that the White House is going to distance itself big-time from this, saying this is just the chairman not the commission.” Continue reading…