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Obamacare “Death Debt?” States Can Seize Assets to Recoup Benefits Under Medicaid Rules

Obamacare death debt
(Photo by China Photos/Getty Images)

Another of the sneaky little clauses nobody in the White House was talking about.

Numerous reports, including some by Newstalk 870, have shown if Obamacare is fully implemented by the end of the decade,  the states will end up paying at least 90% of the cost of the Medicaid portion of the Affordable Care Act.

As we’ve said before, it’s a two-part program.   Money from “regular” enrollees will be used to help “offset” those who sign up for the virtually free coverage – they are mostly low-income people. Medicaid is one side, “private” or regular insurance is the other.

To help offset that cost to the states,  enrollees and medical providers, as well as insurance companies, are discovering now that there is a clause in Obamacare that allows states to seize the assets of a deceased person!  These forfeitures would help pay for any outstanding medical debts the person might have, or pay for the cost of their coverage when they enrolled in Medicaid.  This law applies to Medicaid recipients between the ages of 55 and 64.  If you have any medical debt when you go, the states can take what you leave behind.

Now, this clause has been on federal books since 1993.  The feds allowed it when they feared states would go broke over rising Medicaid costs.  It was quietly included as part of the Affordable Care Act.

The kicker here is that while pushing hard to get Americans to sign up, especially older citizens, the government has not said a word about the possibility of them facing what critics are calling the “death debt.” Most Americans, unless they were the victim of this asset “recovery,” had no idea this policy was in place, or that it was included as part of Obamacare.  Potentially millions of Americans age 55-64 don’t know when they die, this could happen to them and affect their surviving spouse and family.

Critics call it a money grab.   Pushing and pushing the elderly to enroll in Medicaid, but not openly telling them about this death debt.    California in 2004 recovered over $44 million dollars in what is called “estate-recovery.”   Minnesota, $15 million.  With several million more Medicaid enrollees expected as the result of Obamacare, those numbers could climb substantially.

The Obama Administration is being accused of pushing people into Medicaid just so when they die, states will have a lot more people whose assets they can grab, resulting in more revenue for government.   When you think of it that way,  it sounds pretty inhumane.  But it’s just another example of how the Affordable Care Act isn’t about good healthcare, it’s about power grabbing, money, and control.

 

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