Just when you thought Obamacare couldn't get
"If you like your house, you can keep your
The list of aspects about the ACA that 'weren't
thought through very well' continues to grow.
This author's aunt is 55 years old, and lost her job
in 2010. Worse, she was a "1099 employee"
(independent contractor) at the time so she didn't
qualify for unemployment compensation. Unable
to find new work, she's been living off her savings,
selling her silver and china, and living very close
to the bone. All she has left is her house,
which she paid off a few years ago (prudently, you'd
One of her major monthly expenses has been health
insurance, which at her age she dare not let
lapse. So you'd think the advent of the
"Affordable Healthcare Act" (Obamacare) would have
been welcome. Wrong!
My aunt doesn't earn enough to qualify for an
insurance subsidy under the new plan, so her only
alternative is Medicaid.
Medicaid puts a lien on your house, preventing you
from selling it or leaving it to your heirs.
Even if you never use any medical services, an administrative
charge of as much as $3500 per month may be
charged to your account. Won't take long to
cash in your house at that rate. Only--you
won't get the cash, the government will.
My aunt has a daughter whom she helps take care of,
and who stands to inherit her house in case my aunt
dies. This is the way my aunt intends to
provide for her in that unfortunate case.
Well, too bad...everyone has to be wards of
the state I guess. The socialist paradise.
have the option of recovering all Medicaid
benefits from individuals over age 55, including
costs for any medical care, not just long-term
individuals age 55 or older, states are required
to seek recovery of payments from the individual's
estate for nursing facility services, home and
community-based services, and related hospital and
prescription drug services. States have the option
to recover payments for all other Medicaid
services provided to these individuals.."
If my aunt earned a few thousand dollars more,
or was 45 years old (or 65) or if
she were an immigrant! she'd be allowed
to keep her home, plus get a subsidy
to help her buy insurance on the
exchange. Such is fairness, according to
What's the Presstitutes angle? Well,
wouldn't you know it, the right wing is frantically
talking about the ACA
stealing jobs, while the left is insisting
that the ACA
provides superior options for "almost"
Both are a bit delusional, but this woman is not:
Woods of New Hampshire
has been waging a lonely (and doubtless frustrating)
over at Daily Kos in order to generate some
public awareness on this topic. Probably it'll
become big news a year or two from now when the
chickens come home to roost--and take peoples' homes
away from them. Homes they spent a lifetime paying
What does she have to say about so-called Medicaid
worse than you think.
Turns out a couple of states--Oregon and
to address this nightmare. But there's
one small problem: even if states muster the
political will to "solve" the problem, legislatures
can just as easily change their laws right back the
next year and some unlucky people will still lose
their homes. What a time to be alive.
Addendum, 5FEB14: In a classic bit of media
disinformation, The Washington Post (the only
national media outlet even to address this
situation) calls it "scary but improbable" that
"After you die, the state could come after your
house." Well, they have the scary part
right. Improbable? Not so much--and it's not "after
you die" either. It's anytime that you might try to
sell or rent your house, or try to get a mortgage,
or move out of it into an assisted-care facility,
It's weird that we have the government bribing
people to buy homes on the one hand, and putting
liens on them with the other. Cradle to grave
Addendum, 6 Feb 14: Following Ms Woods' excellent
advice, I contacted my aunt's representative in the
Virginia House of Delegates (Manoli Loupassi) with a
concise and cogent enquiry, and received a form
letter in response. Ah....Democracy!
Addendum, 10 Feb 14: An obvious solution
just occurred to this writer (MC):
Why not let people under the poverty line have the option
of signing onto the subsidies just as those over
the poverty line (or immigrants; see below) can
do? That way the truly destitute can keep
Medicaid, while those with assets who happen to have
very low income (or who lost their jobs, for
example) can protect themselves at a reasonable
expense without risking everything they own.
Addendum, 5 March
14: There's more....even PBS, the most lefty
of lefties, admits
that immigrants get a better deal than native-born
Americans. Of course PBS manages to
twist the facts to blame Republicans in states not
expanding Medicaid, but the truth remains that the
ACA explicitly privileges immigrants over
native-born citizens. At many lower income
levels, immigrants qualify for subsidies while
Americans get NOTHING. This is probably
deliberate policy--else it's incompetence--your
Addendum, 5 April
'14: Here's what she's
looking at to pay out of pocket.