As the Nation debates as to whether to cut Medicaid or not as one of those frivolous “entitlement” programs it may be time to understand just what Medicaid is. Sometimes confused with Medicare, Medicaid is the Federal/State program to provide a basic level of healthcare for the poorest among us. It is therefore a primary target for the cutters since no one wants to take care of those lazy good-for-nothing poor people.
What is less understood, however, is that Medicaid will eventually be paying for all of us. Except, of course, the 1 percenters who have more money than God and Congress-critters who upon retirement enjoy government-paid healthcare for life. But if you’re not SuperRich and not a Congress-critter, and don’t have the good sense to die before reaching Nursing Home age, you will be a Medicaid recipient.
Medicaid pays for nursing home care for those who live longer than their brains or bodies can support them. This is true even for the moderately wealthy, for the middle-class, and for the inveterate savers who salt away a sizeable nest egg for their older years. It doesn’t matter once the body parts start failing and the brain goes ga-ga, you will be consigned to a Nursing Home and placed under the care of some Nurse Ratchett. No matter how much you save, indeed you could save every dime you make during your productive years and it wouldn’t be sufficient to pay for the Nursing Home care you will require at the end of your life.
TWO-THIRDS of all Medicaid disbursements are made for recipients in the last six months of their lives. And most of that is for nursing home or hospice care and not medical or hospital services. Before Medicaid is tapped, your assets are quickly sucked dry: your home is sold, your bank account is emptied and if you have stocks they are dumped at whatever price they fetch.
A dear elderly relative of ours did everything right. She worked her entire life and earned a company pension. She saved even more in a 401 k and had investments in addition. She was not a spendthrift but a saver and when by her 80s her mental faculties began to decline she entered a nursing home as a private-pay client. As a private-pay person she enjoyed a well-decorated private room with perks. At least until her money was used up and she, like others, became a Medicaid recipient. Independent her entire life, if she would have had possession of her mind, she would have been distraught at her plight. Fortunately when the State took away her money, God took away her mind.
It is thus with all of us. So when the Congress-critters at the behest of their SuperRich bosses cut Medicaid, it won’t be their last months but yours that they will be ruining.