1 Million Lost Medicaid
million low-income parents have lost their Medicaid coverage as a result of being rolled
A new study from Families
USA, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, says states are to blame for dumping 945,880
adults with kids off Medicaid and leaving them without any health insurance. The problem
stems from the fact that once a Medicaid and welfare recipient is taken off welfare and
placed on a job, their income exceeds what's considered eligible for Medicaid.
Families USA says the income eligibility requirements
are too low. For example, a family of three earning more than $3,168 annually could not
qualify for Medicaid. Texas had one of the biggest drops; 106,000 people lost their
Medicaid coverage from 1996 to 1999. Texas now automatically reviews Medicaid status when
someone is being removed from welfare and transitional benefits can be made available to
people who are struggling financially.
The welfare overhaul began in 1996 as states took on
the task on moving people from welfare to work. According to the study, there was a 27
percent decline among low-income Medicaid beneficiaries from 1996 to 1999.
Some states are trying to correct the problem; people
are being reinstated into Medicaid after being bumped off, and New York and Ohio are
expanding Medicaid eligibility requirements.
Medicaid is funded by both state and federal
governments and covers millions of low-income and disabled people. The study is based on
the analysis of 15 states and did not look at whether those who were dropped from the plan
had other types of health insurance. But Families USA Executive Director Ron Pollack says
people getting off welfare and working in low-paying jobs that don't offer health coverage
typically can't afford insurance on their own.
By Katrina Woznicki
Medical Care Return