Jul 14, 2003
The state of Nebraska has declared it will no longer authorize Medicaid for thousands of families, the so-called "working poor." For example, a family of six will be cut off Medicaid if the total income of the whole family is more than $10,500 per year. About one million people throughout the country are expected to be thrown off the Medicaid rolls under similar rule changes in about a dozen other states.
Those left on Medicaid – about 30 million throughout the country – will now be only those on welfare, disabled, elderly or working but earning next to nothing. They cannot stay in the program if their yearly income is more than 40 hours times 50 weeks times the minimum wage.
Nebraska, like the other states, says there is not enough money to fund Medicaid.
But if Medicaid lacks funds, it's not because the "working poor" have raided it. Nor is it because Medicaid covers people who don't need it In fact, it doesn't begin to cover all the people who do need it. There are 40 million more people today whose employers do not provide medical insurance and whose wages are so low they can't afford it.
Medicaid lacks funds because the priority for all the politicians – national, state and local – is to keep the rich happy and their bank accounts super healthy. Too bad if the working poor get sick.
The federal government just gave away a multi-billion dollar tax cut going almost entirely to the wealthy. These billions cut from tax revenues this year and into the future could have paid to fund Medicaid, not only for those being kicked off, but for everyone else whose job pays no medical benefits.