Latest California Obamacare Wrinkle: Your Health Care or Your House


President Obama says he’s committed to helping the poor, but his policies seem to be doing just the opposite.

The latest example of this comes from California where the new federal health law – Obamacare – is forcing some of the state’s poorest citizens to choose between signing up for health insurance coverage and leaving their children an inheritance when they die.

The problem stems from Obamacare’s goal of ensuring all Americans have health insurance.

A main way the feds are attempting to meet this goal is through the expansion of Medicaid – the government’s health care program for low-income citizens. Under Obamacare, millions of additional Americans now qualify for Medicaid.

Overlooking the fact that Medicaid provides the needy with really crappy health coverage, progressive Democrats and dim-witted Republicans have cheered the Medicaid expansion as a victory for the poor.

A number of California residents are learning it’s really just a Pyrrhic victory.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that California “recovers a broad array of costs from recipients of Medicaid” after they die by seizing their assets – which can include homes.

“It strikes me as horrible to have to choose between having health protection and your estate,” said Chris Darling, a 62-year-old Californian who enrolled in the expanded Medicaid program but remains concerned that medical costs will consume his estate.

Another resident, Anne-Louise Vernon, tells the Mercury News that Medicaid has essentially imposed a “reverse mortgage” on her home in exchange for health insurance.

Our big-hearted federal overlords realize this practice may discourage low-income Californians from signing up for Medicaid and are advising lawmakers to end it.

State lawmakers have obediently responded to D.C.’s request by advancing legislation to scale back the asset seizure program to federally required minimums.

As the Mercury News reports, all states are required “to recoup the expenses of long-term care (in nursing homes) for Medicaid recipients ages 55 or older,” but they have the option of recovering all other Medicaid costs for those recipients, too.

No surprise, the big-spending, chronically broke California recoups every bit it can from the estates of Medicaid recipients. That’s why Gov. Jerry Brown’s advisers are encouraging him to oppose the bill to scale back asset seizures.

State finance and health officials have said in the past that the vast majority of Medicaid beneficiaries aren’t affected by the asset seizure program, “and that the average recovery amount is about $15,000,” the Mercury News reports.

Here’s the bottom line: If California lawmakers succeed in scaling back the asset seizure program, the state will have to recoup the lost revenue either by raising taxes on the “rich” – and thus, hurting job growth – or by cutting “services” that benefit the poor.

President Obama and the progressives in both political parties like to portray themselves as friends of the poor. But as the old saying goes, “With friends like these, who needs enemies?”


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