Home > Uncategorized > Putting A Face On Those Nasty Entitlement Benefits

Putting A Face On Those Nasty Entitlement Benefits

In case you are wondering where your tax dollars go, you are talking to one. I just mailed my forms for re-certification on MediCal. It is a perfunctory duty of limited consequences.

The Medicaid version in California considers me, a single senior whose sole income is $1,165 net from Social Security, a fat cat in the world of the impoverished.

By fat, I mean I earn $8 a month more than the lowest threshold for complete services rendered by MediCal. There are state funded programs offered that I don’t need.

So the only tangible benefit I receive from MediCal is catastrophic insurance after the hospitalization ceilings in Medicare and my private insurance carrier are exceeded.

But there is a catch. It is a monthly $540 premium (it varies each year) when catastrophic coverage is activated. I can’t pay it. You might. Don’t worry.

The doctors, even before the term “death panels” was coined, said I wouldn’t survive. I have a living will that instructs medics DNR — Do Not Resuscitate — and my son to honor that request.

But that’s just me. That morbidity out of the way, MediCal plays another role. To qualify for my private insurance, a Health Net HMO for seniors, I must be enrolled in Medicaid. Other than the catastrophic element, I have no idea what the arrangement is between the private and public carriers.

Medicaid also is required to qualify for rental assistance from the federal Housing and Urban Development agency. That is weird. HUD checks you out as vigorously as an FBI background investigation and requires documentation beyond what Medicaid never dreamed about.

Let’s review: The government pays all my medical costs, all but 15% of my drug costs and all but 34% of my rent. In the old days, the term was living on the dole.

But hold on. Like most people, I don’t keep a scorecard. I paid into Social Security, payroll taxes, state disability and income taxes for 60 years and Medicare since 1965. I played by their rules. I had no part in Congress raiding the Social Security and Medicare trust funds and paying them back in IOUs.

I do feel a guilt trip with the HUD money that pays about two-thirds of my rent because I have no way of figuring how much of my income taxes kicked into their budget. I didn’t pay into it directly as was the case of the other entitlements.

My family loves me dearly but that would be pressed to the limits if I was forced to live with them without the good graciousness of HUD.

These government programs allow me to live in dignity and a quality of life some might say more than I deserve.

Perhaps. I wanted to put a face to those people who are paying my bills I spent a lifetime paying.

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