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ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Small businesses in non-Medicaid states face big fines

Pew stateline:

When the Affordable Care Act was written, its authors assumed that Medicaid — the federal-state health care plan for the poor — would be expanded to low-income adults in every state.

But the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in July 2012 largely upholding the law made the expansion optional. Since then, governors in nearly half of all states have refused to take it up.

In states that choose not to expand Medicaid, small businesses may be liable for substantial penalties they would not have had to pay if the expansion had remained mandatory, according to a recent analysis by Brian Haile of Jackson Hewitt Tax Service. Based on actuarial estimates of the number of low-income workers who would have qualified for Medicaid in the 22 states that so far have said they will not expand, Haile estimated that small businesses could be liable for as much as $1.3 billion in penalties each year. In Texas alone, the penalties could amount to as much as $448 million each year, Haile wrote.

OK, a tax service talking their book of tax savings.

Nevertheless, what a mess. We've got a supposedly national program that keeps creating second class citizens of one kind or another on any issue you choose to name. I suppose the small businesses could just pack up and move, though. Because freedom!

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Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

" ... the number of low-income workers who would have qualified for Medicaid in the 22 states."

Striking how this state of affairs is simply a "given" -- working Americans who qualify for Medicaid (!) -- and worse, that they exist in numbers that yield the reported huge dollar amounts in the projected "costs to small business" in Medicaid Opt-Out states.

I'd like to know the actual number of the low-income workers who qualify for Medicaid in those 22 states. The Pew article strangely does not provide that number. I think that publishing the actual number would be shocking to many -- more poignant than the operating general principle -- i.e., that Walmart style McJobs -- (the largest "growth sector" in the "post"-Recession Recession job market) render the workers Medicaid-eligible.

beowulf's picture
Submitted by beowulf on

Actually, its more shocking on how many people don't qualify.
There's a belief-- an urban legend really, that anyone living under the poverty line (itself a rather low benchmark) qualifies for Medicaid.

Childless adults, in more than 40 states cannot currently qualify for Medicaid regardless of their income level... Low income parents, in more than 30 states don't currently qualify even if their children do.
http://www.apha.org/advocacy/Health+Reform/ACAbasics/medicaid.htm

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

who have to divest themselves of all assets before qualifying for long-term (e.g. nursing home) care under Medicaid (because Medicare doesn't pay for it). That's why there has grown up over the past 40 years an entire industry of tax and legal support for how the middle class elderly can turn themselves into Dickensian paupers (by stripping themselves of any remaining assets, including their home) in preparation for applying for Medicaid.

Nice, right?

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

To your point about how many poor childless adults don't even qualify for Medicaid -- that's shocking too, and highlights how the present patchwork of "bucket systems" is inhumane, odious, and why we need Medicare for All, not ObamaFrankenCare. And thanks for the link from APHA with all the stats. (As a side note, the constant reference to human beings in need of a basic good (health care) as "applicable taxpayer" turned my stomach.)

That said, I'd still like to see real numbers on the *employed* Americans who qualify for Medicaid precisely because their *wages* are so monstrously low that they *do* qualify for Medicaid -- that number would highlight another facet of our monstrous Patchwork Crack-Filled Bucket System, viz., how in the country with coverage for workers "primarily" provided via employers, we have an army of workers who, in fact, qualify for poverty-based government coverage.