Bullet: Opponents of Medicaid
Reform Advocate Reverse Robin Hood Policies
Friday, January 20, 2006
LTC Comment: Profiteers
on the status quo are mobilizing to stop Medicaid reform.
Fight back! Details after
*** 12 DAYS AND COUNTING to the big vote on Medicaid reform
in the House of Representatives. Read
today's Bullet and contact your member of Congress daily to support the deficit
reduction, budget reconciliation bill.
*** PAR FOR THE COURSE.
In keeping with the theme of today's LTC Bullet that the affluent
often rip off programs intended to benefit the poor, here's another example:
World Bank studied the results of programs meant to help the poor and found that
even programs designed to reach poor people often end up instead helping the
to the researchers:
In almost all of the more than 20 countries surveyed, the richest 20
percent of the population received more, or as much of, the government's
subsidized maternal and child health care services as the poorest 20 percent.
Studies of Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Madagascar, South Africa
and Tanzania all have shown that government spending on health favors
Source: National Center for Policy Analysis Daily Policy Digest,
Friday, January 20, 2006, http://www.ncpa.org
read today's LTC Bullet for examples of this kind of "reverse Robin
Hood" public policy that are much too close to home.
LTC BULLET: OPPONENTS
OF MEDICAID REFORM ADVOCATE REVERSE ROBIN HOOD POLICIES
LTC Comment: Opposition
to the budget reconciliation bill is mounting.
If re-passed by the House of Representatives in a form identical to the
version passed by the Senate last month, this legislation will undercut Medicaid
planning abuse and unleash the LTC Partnership program.
That would be a marvelous outcome because it gives Medicaid
LTC benefits back to the people who really need them and encourages others to
save, invest and insure for long-term care so they're part of the solution to
America's LTC crisis, instead of remaining the problem itself.
But people and organizations who profit from the existing
corrupt system, which perversely rewards failure to plan for long-term care,
strongly oppose reform. They are
often backed by big bucks from foundations, government grants, and nonprofit tax
status. Or, worse yet, they profit
by diverting Medicaid benefits directly to affluent clients for a profit.
Here are some examples of their arguments and tactics that
we've discovered in the past few days. Thanks
to Center for Long-Term Care Reform members who have brought these coordinated
attacks to our attention. Keep 'em
coming to email@example.com.
A group called "Independent Sector" says on
its website at http://www.independentsector.org/programs/gr/medicaidchange.html
Reconciliation Bill Threatens Older Americans Who Make Charitable
Donations." What is this
organization and why do they oppose Medicaid reform? Their website says "Independent
Sector is the leadership forum for charities, foundations, and corporate giving
programs committed to advancing the common good in America and around the
world." So, why do they urge
their members to oppose the reconciliation bill and provide an email link to
Congress in order to do so? They
want to preserve the current system which encourages affluent seniors to
impoverish themselves in order to qualify for Medicaid by giving away all their
money to the organization's member charities.
In essence, they steal from the poor who are dependent on Medicaid to
reward the rich for giving away wealth they should be using to pay for their own
For our response to these
specious arguments from charities seeking to benefit at the expense of Medicaid,
see "LTC Bullet: On Asset
Transfers, Charitable Giving and Nursing Homes," Tuesday, January 10, 2006
either on the Moses LTC Blog at www.centerltc.com
or at http://www.centerltc.com/members/ltcbullets/index.htm
(Center members with password access only.)
Here's another example.
ACTNow is an ad hoc organization thrown together to oppose the
budget reconciliation bill. It is
running TV ads in the districts of vulnerable moderate Democrats and Republicans
urging voters to prevail on their Members of Congress to vote down Medicaid
reform. A sample follows. Check
it out at http://www.actnow.org/video/simmons_wmp_medium.php.
A voice-over announcer tells
viewers: "Your member of
Congress, [insert name], recently voted to make seniors pay more for their
health care, and [his or her vote] to cut health care will deny nursing home
care to thousands. Congress[man or
woman] [name] needs to get [his or her] priorities straight: Cutting health care to give extra tax breaks to millionaires
is just plain wrong. Tell [name of
member] it's wrong to cut health care to [name of state] seniors to give tax
breaks to millionaires."
The budget reconciliation bill does exactly the opposite.
It discourages abuse of Medicaid by the well-to-do in order to preserve
the welfare program's scarce resources for people genuinely in need.
A spokesperson for one member of
Congress victimized by these unfounded attacks responded thus:
"The truth is, these
Medicaid reforms, which were endorsed by all 50 governors, including all 22
Democratic governors, as well as by the Hartford Courant and the New
York Times, will not deny nursing home care to a single senior. These reforms give states greater flexibility and target care
for those most in need."
In the meantime, in the midst of
all this misleading political hullabaloo, some private for-profit elder law
firms are fighting Medicaid reform in their own self-interest.
They seek to make hay while the sun shines with a fire sale on Medicaid
asset transfers. Here's a quote
from a "Margolis and Associates" newsletter dated January 16, 2006.
"With the new Medicaid
transfer rules slated to be voted into law as early as February 1st, these last
two weeks of January offer a window of opportunity for long-term care planning.
Anyone in a nursing home or facing the prospect of nursing home care can
still do so-called 'half-a-loaf' planning.
Anyone doing advance planning to protect a home or other large assets can
do so this month under the three- year look-back period.
If they wait until February, they will most likely be subject to the
five-year look-back period."
"Last chance to grab your ailing parents' savings and put them in a
nursing home on welfare." What
a way to make a living!
In the meantime, while all this
disgraceful self-dealing is going on, where's the outrage?
Where else besides here do you get the truth?
Who else besides the Center for Long-Term Care Reform is waging this
If you think Medicaid should be
saved for the poor and affluent Americans should insure for long-term care
instead of divesting their wealth to qualify for welfare-financed LTC, then let
your voice be heard.
Find your member of the House of
Representatives at http://www.house.gov/.
Then call, write and email him or her in support of the budget
reconciliation, deficit reduction bill.
And if you value the work we're
doing, please join the Center for Long-Term Care Reform.
Go to http://www.centerltc.com/support/index.htm
or contact Damon at 206-283-7036 or firstname.lastname@example.org
. Thanks for your support.