Arizona Governor Jan Brewer plans to cut out a program that comes to the rescue of people who have large medical bills they can’t pay – and I agree with her.
The Arizona Republican recently reported:
People in the so-called spend-down program typically earn too much to qualify for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state’s Medicaid program, but have gone through some sort of catastrophic medical problem that left them with a large number of bills.
The program allows them to subtract medical expenses from their income, and they then qualify if that reduces their income to 40 percent of the federal poverty level. Medicaid does not require states to cover this population, but Arizona’s spend-down program has been in place since 2000, when voters approved expanded health coverage to everyone making up to 100 percent of the federal poverty level under Proposition 204. Before that, they were covered through a state-funded program for the “medically indigent.”
I recently met a self-employed man who had dropped his health insurance because the premiums got “too high”. This man, who has a house and a modest income, took the risky position of going without health insurance until, one day, he got very sick and ended up in the hospital. He could not pay his hospital and doctor bills, so the social worker from the hospital signed him up for AHCCCS (Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System – Arizona Medicaid).
Enrolled in AHCCCS (pronounced “access”), he got all his medical bills paid by the state until he turned 65 and enrolled in Medicare, which is a federal health insurance program. This coverage lasted for about two years, during which he could see doctors and be treated for his illness.
This man recently sent me an email in which he asked his friends to take action to stop that terrible Obamacare because it is such a terrible, socialist program that will ruin our country!
I emailed him back to inform him that he had benefited from the AHCCCS program which is much more socialist than anything in Obamacare. In his case, the state of Arizona became his health insurance plan (at the taxpayers’ expense). I informed him that under Obamacare everyone will have to buy health insurance, but they will be subsidized by the government based on their income. If we had had Obamacare when he got sick, the state would not have had to step in and support him 100%.
So, while I am generally a bleeding heart liberal, I don’t think the state should bail out people who get sick. Of course I don’t think people who get sick should be told to roll over and die. So the answer seems to be to get everyone covered by health insurance. And everyone needs to pay something into the system at whatever level they can afford. We can’t have people who opt out of health insurance and then want help when they get sick. That’s what I think.
So what is the answer? Well, it seems to be right in front of us….Obamacare!