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Trump, Medicaid and Benjamin Franklin

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Trump, Medicaid and Benjamin Franklin

November 27
18:08 2017

Medicaid has been in the news lately but what do we really know about Medicaid?

One might say that it is a government assistance program to help lower income and poor Americans with their medical expenses.

According to Medicaid.gov:

“Medicaid provides health coverage to millions of Americans, including eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults and people with disabilities. Medicaid is administered by states, according to federal requirements. The program is funded jointly by states and the federal government.”

When Obamacare was passed and became law, it offered states the option to expand their Medicaid requirements, meaning that millions more Americans would be eligible to receive Medicaid assistance. What Democrats did not count on was that this Medicaid expansion would account for such a large percentage of the new healthcare enrollees. This huge percentage of Medicaid signups is being blamed as one of the many reasons Obamacare has been in such financial trouble.

For one thing, Obamacare promised to pay at least 50% of the expanded Medicaid costs, but a number of states say that is not happening, leaving states with a huge expense they cannot afford. Secondly, the entire financial foundation that Obamacare relied upon was based on the premise that the majority of enrollees would be young healthy adults who would have fewer and less expensive claims, thus helping to pay for those with more health problems and medical expenses, but this never happened and now we see Obamacare collapsing from the lack of a sound financial foundation.

According to a report from Kaiser Health News, some of the requirements to receive Medicaid may be changing under the Trump administration and this has a number of people concerned. The main change is a work requirement attached to Medicaid and other government assistance programs like food stamps.

Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has also suggested the possibility of attaching a premium to go along with Medicaid, requiring drug testing and possibly placing a time limit on how long someone can continue to receive Medicaid assistance.

Opponents say that many people on Medicaid already work or are either too sick, going to school or too busy taking care of children. They claim that Medicaid is an entitlement, not something that should be earned.

To this, Verma has stated that the goal of the Trump administration is to:

“hope that they can achieve a better future for themselves and their families, hope that they can one day break the chains of generational poverty and no longer need public assistance.”

This ties in with what the venerable Benjamin Franklin said so many years ago when America was in its infancy:

“In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries that the more the public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the more they did for themselves, and became richer. There is no country in the world where so many provision are established for them (as in England); so many hospitals to receive them when they are sick or lame, founded and maintained by voluntary charities; so many almshouses for the aged of both sexes, together with a solemn general law made by the rich to subject their estates to a heavy tax for the support of the poor. Under all these obligations, are our poor modest, humble, and thankful? And do they use their best endeavors to maintain themselves, and lighten our shoulders of this burden? In the contrary, I affirm that there is no country in the world in which the poor are more idle, dissolute, drunken, and insolent. The day you passed that, you took away from before their eyes the greatest of all inducements to industry, frugality, and sobriety, but giving them a dependence on somewhat else than a careful accumulation during youth and health, for support in age or sickness.”

“In short, you offered a premium for the encouragement of idleness, and you should not now wonder that it has had its effect in the increase in poverty. Repeal that law, and you will soon see a change in their manners. Saint Monday and Saint Tuesday will soon cease to be holidays. Six days shalt thou labor, thought one on the oldest commandments long treated as out of date, will again be looked upon as a respectable precept; industry will increase, and with it plenty among the lower people; their circumstances will mend, and more will be done for their happiness by inuring them to provide for themselves than could be done by dividing all your estates among them.” [The Real Benjamin Franklin: Part II: Timeless Treasures from Benjamin Franklin, Prepared by W. Cleon Skousen and M. Richard Maxfield. National Center for Constitutional Studies, 2008, Pp 453-4.]

Government assistance often works to entrap people into poverty and making it difficult for them to find a way out. By requiring those that are physically capable of working for what they receive and to make them remain drug free is only fair and in the long run could help force many to begin to provide for themselves and their families. After all, most of us have to work to pay taxes that pay for these benefits and many also have to pass drug tests at their place of employment in order to work and pay their taxes, so why shouldn’t recipients be required to do likewise?

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