"Forcing people to stay on Medicaid
In this election season, it’s time to write about this again. Did you realize that Medicaid has a built-in penalty for trying to get off it? Here we have conservatives trying to cut back or eliminate it, and liberals trying to expand it, and neither side willing to set it up so that people can work their way off it.
Can you say “stupid”?
Due to disability or age or both, some of us will never be hired again to do anything meaningful and rewarding. Felons have better job prospects than anyone with a serious disability, especially psychiatric disabilities. So what if I can write well? Most employers, prejudiced by fear, will not hire anyone who admits to a mental illness. From experience, I know that I would only have to get angry or upset about anything once, and my employer would fire me for fear of my going postal. Even though I have no significant history of physical violence, especially repeated offenses, and no drug or alcohol problems, the only medically and statistically reliable indicators of future behavior.
I think it’s easier for gays to come out and still work. Even vampires get better press. After all, the State doesn’t have any law making them dangerous when accused, until proven otherwise. Many people with disabilities, who want jobs and can’t work full time, have to start businesses for themselves that will accommodate them. Virtually no one else will.
A Benefits Analyst at the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitative Services was kind enough to send me a report on what would happen if I earn any money trying to start a business. I already know from DHS that if I make any income at all, I lose food stamps. Which would eliminate the LifeLine discount that keeps my phone bill down $30-$40 a month. I get special help from state Medicaid for premiums on Medicare Parts B and D, drug co-pays and the “donut hole”. At the time of the analysis, the Medicare premiums were $115.40/month.
Everyone who has looked into it knows that a startup business doesn’t turn a real profit for the first year, most often two. DHS has told me that if I start a business, they will count gross income, not net. So I would lose “special help” if I make just $1/month more. So that’s about a $150/month loss for a $1/month gain, never mind business expenses. If I start a business, it has to make at least $1800 profit, possibly as much as $3000, in the first sale to cover the losses in aid for that year.
What would you choose to do without? Rent? Food? Medicine? How many hungry, homeless people do you know that start businesses? There’s no real choice.
I wrote about this to Senator Coburn’s office. The guy that called back said that they wanted to help people like me. But mostly I just got the speech about how being afraid that working would cost one Medicaid was a “myth”. I sent them a copy of my OKDRS Benefits Summary & Analysis Report, suggesting that they should not give out semi-legal advice without checking their facts. Somebody might get hurt.
And never heard back. It seems that I would already have to have a business, and be a potential campaign contributor, to get any real help with changing Medicaid in a humane and business-friendly way.
It might even shake my faith in the sincerity of politicians."