Here’s a quiz. Do healthy, “able-bodied” people go to the doctor? Rarely, even when they should for preventive care. In short, able-bodied people don’t cost any insurer much — commercial insurers or Medicaid. Even though most able-bodied Medicaid recipients work, the state House GOP wants to add layers of red tape to an already overburdened system so they can throw off Medicaid the comparatively few who aren’t seeking employment.
At $27 million to implement Pennsylvania House Bill 2138, and potentially hundreds of millions more to staff and support job search efforts, it will waste taxpayer dollars trying to disenroll the very people who don’t cost the state much.
This bill isn’t about making the “able-bodied” carry their fair share; it’s about making the verification requirements so complicated that legitimate Medicaid recipients lose their coverage. Read the bill. If you had to provide the same level of verification to keep your insurance, you may quickly find yourself uninsured. If paperwork is lost or mailed to the wrong address, people who followed the rules would find themselves locked out of care. An estimated 85,000 may lose coverage.
If the House is honest about seeking to disenroll only the “able-bodied who won’t seek work,” then there’s no financial benefit to the state. If the intent is “collateral disenrollment” of legitimate Medicaid beneficiaries, then state Reps. Dave Hickernell, Mindy Fee, Brett Miller, Keith Greiner, Steven Mentzer, David Zimmerman and Bryan Cutler aren’t being forthcoming and should be held accountable.
DWIGHT EICHELBERGER, M.D.