Medicaid: Poorly Built for the Poor

The bigger Medicaid becomes, the less care the neediest people actually receive.

What is Medicaid? An easy explanation for the average voter:

Founded in 1965, Medicaid is a jointly funded, federal-state insurance project for low-income and needy Americans. Initially, the program covered impoverished children, the blind, the disabled and others who are eligible to receive federally assisted income maintenance. However, under Obamacare it expanded to include healthy adults, too. It is the nation’s largest insurer, covering 77 million people. Currently, it costs taxpayers an estimated $500 billion a year in both state and federal taxes to fund a program known for improper payments and inept care.

Why is it in the news?

President Trump’s 2018 budget would trim Medicaid by $800 billion over the next 10 years. Some say this would cut needed services to the poor and needy, and cause others to lose their coverage entirely.

What You Should Be Saying:

  • The poor deserve access to quality care and reliable doctors, something that’s impossible to receive under the current, strained Medicaid system. People in poverty shouldn’t be forced to hunt for doctors, or wait longer, or receive worse care. They should be able to have a family physician, not run to the emergency room when they have problems. In Arkansas, 10-year-old Skylar has a rare neurological condition that causes her to have multiple seizures a day. Because of how many people are on Medicaid in the state, she can’t get the care she needs. New Jersey’s Medicaid websites are widely inaccurate, causing trouble and hardship for people looking for a doctor.
  • The poorest of the poor need Medicaid – that’s what it was designed for. It was implemented as a safety net for poor children and those with disabilities. But it’s not designed for everyone. Because of the huge expansion covering able-bodied people who could get insurance, the wait times are long, the care is sub-par and the paperwork is so burdensome doctors won’t take patients. As a result, the poorest Americans are suffering.  If our hearts are to care for the poor, we should fight for Medicaid to become smaller with more quality for its participants, not larger. The bigger Medicaid becomes, the less care the neediest people actually receive. In Illinois, for example, hundreds of people have died waiting to get care.
  • Dependence on Medicaid means less incentive to set high goals to get off the program. What was supposed to be a short term safety net has become long term reliance. Relying on a government program such as Medicaid for an extended period of time reduces a person’s incentives to rise above poverty and achieve prosperity. We want people who need short term help to find it, but those who are able- bodied and healthy have the right to care for themselves. Relying on others for help when you don’t need it causes problems for those that do.


Further reading …

Nearly 12 percent of Medicaid payments are “improper payments.”

Medicaid fraud caused child’s death

How a physically disabled child lost his insurance under Obamacare

Medicaid Provides Poor Quality Care: What the Research Shows

Curbing Waste, Fraud, And Abuse In Medicaid


What Should Be Said is a project of Think Freely Media that shows effective ways of communicating freedom principles by using a storytelling approach, taking the moral high ground, and staying hopeful and aspirational. Media, politicians and thought leaders often fail to include the freedom perspective at all by omitting critical facts. Alternatively, when they do make a sincere attempt to sell the freedom philosophy, they often do so with a stale and defensive approach that is missing stories that humanize the dry facts and figures. TFM strives to show examples of how storytelling and emotionally compelling changes in message will make all the difference for those trying to advocate for liberty.

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