January 7, 2015

While the newspapers banging the drum for Medicaid expansion aren’t talking about it, Medicaid expansion under ObamaCare includes a new Obama rule allowing the wealthy to tap into Medicaid by weakening estate recovery provisions.

As reported by the Illinois News Network, “Millionaires now can safely enroll in Medicaid, thanks to an interpretation of the Affordable Care Act recently confirmed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Since the expansion of Illinois’ Medicaid program under the act, anyone whose taxable income is low enough automatically qualifies for the program, regardless of his or her assets.

The newspaper explained ”The decision confirms that income-poor but asset-rich people, such as wealthy retirees, could take advantage of the program.

“You could have a million-dollar house and be on Medicaid,” said Joy Wilson, director of health and human services policy for the National Conference of State Legislatures. “They can’t take your assets and resources into account for eligibility to Medicaid.”

Now that the threat of asset seizure has all but vanished, more people can find a way to qualify.

That’s because new provisions allow plenty of ways for people with assets to qualify for Medicaid by modifying their income using tax deductions.

Possible income deductions include payments to a health savings account, an IRA, student loan interest, certain business and moving expenses and even paying alimony, according to the Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California, Berkeley.

State Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, works in the insurance industry. He has seen relatively well-off people qualifying for Medicaid as they seek to sign up for insurance via the new exchanges.

“We had a client come into our office who was 60, with plenty of savings, but his modified adjusted income was at the Medicaid level,” he said. “In his case he had a choice: either take free Medicaid or pay the full cost of insurance outside of the exchange.”

In other words, you can artificially lower your income and avoid counting your assets in order to sign up for Medicaid. Ain’t ObamaCare grand?

How much might Medicaid millionaires cost taxpayers? Hard to say. But Congressional testimony by the Center for Long Term Care Reform calculates that changing the rule allowing homes worth three quarters of a million dollars to be ignored for determining Medicaid eligibility would save $30 billion. 

Putting millionaires on Medicaid. One more reason to say no to ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion. North Carolina taxpayers can’t afford to buy that pig in a poke, not if we want to raise teacher pay, too.