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I'm a single Mormon Democrat, an NPR & BBC news junkie, a dog lover, opera buff, bookavore, migraineur, knows just enough about technology to be a danger to myself, fan of James Bond and Godzilla. 

Micah 6:8; D&C 11:20 

"do justly, walk humbly, judge righteously."

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Could you live on $337 a month???

Listening to The Diane Rehm Show this morning, I learned some horrifying details on Medicaid. In some states, just owning a car - no matter its worth - will make you ineligible for Medicaid. But then they told other details. In some states, if you don't have a children, you are ineligible - no matter how little you earn.

As for income, in Texas, a family of three the income cutoff is $4044 per year! That's $337 a month! That's just over $10 a day! $3 a meal! (Let's not mention rent!)

Now, how many could survive on that? I'm sure the Republicans are saying, "well, get a better job!" Oh, yeah, right.  This completely belies the argument about people becoming dependent on social services. Who can afford to eat, much less anything else, and be dependent on Medicaid?

What if you work at McDonald's or Wal-Mart? Or what if you do have a full time job - but at minimum wage? Let's use Texas as an example again. In Texas, the minimum wage is $7.25/hour. (Dear God, the last time I had a minimum wage job was in 1990 and I think I earned more than that!) That means, even with full time, you'd make $15,000 a year. The Federal Government lists the poverty level for a family of 3 as $19,530 a year. Yet, you would still not be eligible for Medicaid. Basically, the State of Texas thinks poverty is a job that pays less than a dollar a week!

Please, how do they come up with these figures? And Texas isn't the only guilty party. Thankfully those states not run by certain Republican governors can help their poor. The expansion will give Medicaid to anyone earning up to 1.38 times the Federal Poverty Level. That's nearly $30,000 a year! I would've been eligible when I was a secretary! (Of course, that job had good benefits already. I wouldn't have needed it.)

Here are some ways this is good for the country, not just the person:

1) Less uninsured people showing up at hospital emergency rooms. Did you know your state may have to cover part of those costs? It's not just written off by the hospital by higher prices for paying customers.

2) More productive employees.

3) Less people that maintain a jobless status to keep basic medical coverage rather than looking for work.

4) More people with actual disposable income. That's trickle down stuff, folks! The economy works better when people buy stuff - other than groceries.

5) Maybe people in the inner cities won't resort to self-medicating or selling drugs.

6) Obamacare requires mental health care coverage. Maybe less crazy people will buy guns and we won't have to argue with the gun rights people about background checks.

I'm sure there are more. Let's stop characterizing this as dependence or for weak people. What about those dependent industries like aviation, oil, coal, gas, automotive? Aren't they dependent on subsidies? Let's remember this country is "for the people".

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