Mediwhat?

For those of you who don’t know – Medicaid is joint program between the federal government and the state to assist specific lower income populations pay for medical care. It was established in 1965 along with Medicare (a social insurance program for those over 65, fully funded by the federal government).

During the debate over the details of the PPACA in Congress, there was some suggestion of creating a national, single-payer, health care system by expanding Medicaid coverage to all people in the U.S. This was immediately denounced as “socialism” and therefore anathema. Instead, the PPACA expanded the coverage for some people.

Up until the passage of the Act, Medicaid eligibility was incomes at or below the poverty line. Section 2001 expands this coverage, starting in 2014, to those with incomes up to 133% of the poverty line. Additionally, whereas before childless or non-pregnant adults under 65 were not eligible unless they were disabled, those restrictions will be removed. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that this will be 16 million additional people. This increase is fully funded by the federal government for 3 years, decreasing each year after that until its final funding level of 90% starting in 20201.

You can’t enroll yourself, if you don’t enroll your children, or have them covered in some other way.

The states can’t limit enrollment until they have operating Exchanges.

Medicaid must offer the minimum essential coverage that is required by the PPACA in general.

Mental health services must be offered in the same manner as other medical services – known as mental health parity.

Reports shall be made!

Section 2002 says that adjusted gross income will be used, and you can’t leave out any income, but you can’t have an asset test. This doesn’t apply if you are getting other aid that makes you eligible, you are over 65, you are blind, or disabled. Current enrollees are grandfathered in.

Section 2003 says that if you are eligible for Medicaid, you, and your children, don’t lose that eligibility if you don’t apply for insurance through an employer.

Section 2004 increases the age limit for eligibility for Medicaid for former foster children, who wouldn’t have the opportunity, then, to be on a parent’s insurance.

Section 2005 gives more money to the US territories. Quick! Who can name them?? Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Island and American Samoa.

Section 2006 gives more money, for two years, to areas hit by natural disasters.

Section 2007 rescinds money due to the Medicaid Improvement Fund for years 2014 through 2018, if it isn’t spent. On a fascinating side note, go to this page http://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/ssact/title19/1941.htm and read the foot notes about all the changes that have taken place in just this one section. Oh Congress.

1 it should be noted that Texas, or rather its governor, among other states, has already stated that it will not enact this portion of the PPACA. While we haven’t gotten to the portion that is the stick to this carrot, the Supreme Court struck down the portion of the PPACA that stated that if a state didn’t increase eligibility, that ALL of its Medicaid funding would be rescinded. Instead, only the portion for the increase will not be given. I leave it to the Legislatures of the various states to explain why they aren’t insuring their citizens.

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