The Incalculable Health Costs

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Always generous Uncle Sam will pay for almost any health ailments for some Americans. That’s the comforting message those recipients—about 16 million low-to-middle income folks. Eventually, this little-noticed part of Obamacare will cost billions, probably eventually trillions of dollars. To start, the federal and state governments between 2010 and 2019, will dish out a mere $6.8 billion.  That the best determination of Richard S. Foster, chief actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Those figures are tucked away in tables accompanying lengthy reports. But they represent only a tip of the potential mountain of outlays that lie ahead.

Public concern has focused primarily on the law’s provisions relating to charges other individuals will be demanded to fork over for medical treatment. Twenty states are mounting legal challenges to Obamacare’s mandate to buy health insurance. In the battleground state of Missouri seven in ten voted Aug. 3 against the mandate). In Virginia, a federal judge August 2 allowed the state’s lawsuit defying the insurance mandate to go forward.

Not surprisingly, few, if any, of those 16 million who are promised magnanimous care are complaining. Taxpayers, however, should be, if they are made aware of the future Olympian costs. The easily brushed-aside Medicaid program, together with the so-called CHIP health program for children, offer the most comprehensive U.S. health programs in existence. Among the entitled 16 million (although it maybe as high as 18 million), Medicaid will be paying, beginning in 2014 for all health care costs of anyone making up to 133 percent  (although a footnote says 138 percent) of the Federal Poverty Level (now $14,404). After three years, it will be $19,877 a year. For a typical American family of four, Medicaid will care for those earning up to $47,200 by 2017, according to a senior specialist at CMS. In 2017, the amount paid by the federal government will decrease slowly each year, reaching 90 percent in 2020 where it will remain. The states will have to pick up the balance from then on, in this Federal-state sharing program that is Medicaid. Only a consummate bureaucrat could have concocted this intricate system.

Some 13 percent of all children up to age 18 live in poverty. Ten percent are white, Thirty-five percent are black and are more subject to health problems. Twenty-nine percent are Hispanic. Fifty percent of blacks are in female household families. These are the prime customers of Medicaid.

Even families earning incomes up to $88,000 will have their medical bills largely subsidized under the new Medicaid program. Usually expensive long-term care will not be a financial problem for these lucky ones either; free care in a nursing home for life is a guarantee. This enormous give-away begins in 2014. Families making up to $88,000 will get refundable tax credits. IRS will give money to insurance companies in new state “exchanges” to enable the higher-earning Medicaid families to purchase their health care. So, IRS will be taking on another social engineering job, just as it has run the Earned Income Credit (EIC) program. This, even though IRS has not had a stellar record in money management. In 2005, for instance, its Inspector General found 28 percent of the $40 billion paid out for Earned Income Credit was fraudulent, Accounting reported.

Medicaid, plugging along since its creation in 1965, is jointly funded by both the federal and state governments. Among the groups currently served by Medicaid are eligible citizens and resident aliens, including relatively low-income adults and their children and people with certain disabilities. Even before Obamacare gets into gear, Medicaid is already the largest source of dollars for medical services for the needy. The fastest growing area of Medicaid is nursing-home coverage because of the aging World War II and Korean Conflict era generation. But an even larger explosion in cost for taxpayers will come beginning in 2020 when some of the baby boom generation begins to seek nursing home care.

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  • havefun

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  • jbtrevor

    Alarming numbers! You missed one that is prevalent in Vermont and growing elsewhere across the country: paying for nursing home level of care in people's own home. If it were just that, perhaps it would be less costly however the 'care' also includes someone to clean your home, shop for groceries, do your laundry, etc.

  • Lfox328

    There may be a need for services for the truly indigent, however, I want to make sure. Any claimant on MY money needs to include in their application the tax returns of their nearest relatives – children, parents. Otherwise, we have more of the same scam that exists now, where patients "gift" their money early to their children, to qualify as "needy". Similarly, even adult children have to prove that their parents are incapable of helping them out, not just unwilling.

  • davarino

    Take care of yourselves folks. Stay in shape and take your vitamins cause it going to get nasty if you get sick. Its going to be long lines, and bandaides and asperin for your ailments. Ah the age of free stuff for everyone. No more responsibilities. Hell I think I will quit working.

  • Lori

    The Program will Only help those who Qualify. And the services they want you to perform and they will put more testing and medications on the people so they can make the buck! People than will live in A society of if you do not ask we will not tell you! Pretty sad when they throw all the paper work at A sick person who is about dead, sign here and sign there! People it is already happening! Sad thing Is once The Government has you it can tell you what you can do and not Do! And that is you take this Medication and you do this test and than we can decide if you are eligible. That is what they do to people on Disability now,And children who have disease,Broken lives. Sad but true.

  • seethesource

    What is the problem with calling medicaid what it is? It is WELFARE, period. I prepaid to get my medicare and still have to pay for Part B and my own supplemental medical policy.
    Medicare and medicaid should not be used in the same sentence.

  • Gerald

    The Muslims are exempt from taking out any kind of insurance on religious grounds. Who then pays for their medical costs? The Muslim community breeds like rats.