“Are there no prisons?” “And union workhouses?” – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
Rep. Matt Gaetz is trying to convince his fellow Republicans to demand new work requirements for Medicaid as part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling. He tells Semafor that he’s now “socializing” the concept among colleagues, including Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Aside from being a sure nonstarter with Democrats, targeting Medicaid carries political risks. It’s a colossal program currently covering roughly 84 million Americans, many of them elderly and children in lower-income households. In Arkansas, where new work rules went into effect for almost a year before being blocked in federal court, about 18,000 people lost their coverage, including many who should have still been eligible but simply appeared to get tripped up by the new paperwork. Many enrollees didn’t even know about the new rules. A study in Health Affairs later found that, for those affected, “work requirements did not increase employment” after 18 months.
Gaetz, a trust fund baby who never worked or had a poor day in his life “claims” his proposed change would only apply to “able-bodied adults.”
Of the 120,000 traditional (fee-for-service) Medicare beneficiaries estimated to be HIV positive, nearly eight in 10 (79%) are under age 65 and qualify for Medicare because they are disabled and receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments, which entitle them to Medicare after a two-year waiting .
Also this week House Republicans have been working out the details of their deeply unpopular plan to cut Social Security and Medicare in order to deepen poverty and shackle people to the labor force further into old age. The proposal to raise the retirement age for Social Security to 70, per The Washington Post, which means that workers and retirees would have to work an additional 3 to 4 years to receive full benefit.