Are you wondering about a glaring unintended consequence of healthcare reform? Read on to learn how everyone becomes a criminal.
By now you’ve all heard of the government reports of Medicare fraud being three times higher than 17 billion dollars a year previously thought. How you ask? Because an illegible doctor signature is considered fraud and Obama is out to make things right and transparent and accurate. You can pretty much count on every physician in this country being a fraudster.
But what about Medicaid? Does the same fraud problem exist with the Medicaid system? Probably, but you also have to worry about the patient abuse aspect as well. Here’s an angle of unintended consequences you may not have considered with healthcare reform by making pre-existing conditions a thing of the past.
I have been told Happy’s hospital has a handful of repeat offenders using their family member’s Medicaid card to get free healthcare services in the ER. Why is that possible and why would anyone let their family member use their insurance card? The question you should ask is not “why,” but “why not?” Why wouldn’t every family with Medicaid share their card?
Under a normal insurance program, where you are actually insuring against something, Medicaid isn’t really an insurance program — it’s a payment program. It takes money from people who pay taxes and gives it to pay for health care (whether it’s medically necessary or not) of people who pay little or no taxes and actually make money from the government for breathing. It’s the opposite of the breathing tax on the rich.
Medicaid carries no pre-existing clause. That means once you’re in, you’re in. And you get everything paid for, usually for life, by the Medicaid National Bank. You don’t ever have to worry about getting denied healthcare based on any existing medical condition.
That’s a great feeling to have. As an American, I would love to know that I would always have the ability to have my catastrophic healthcare services paid for should I fall ill. Fortunately, minus the trauma (which could be paid for under insurances other than health), most catastrophic illness is self induced by the lifestyles people choose to live. Nobody is born a smoker. And no babies are born obese. Most cases of stroke, heart disease, diabetes and cancer are induced by the choices we make in life. Most are lifestyle disease. Some say smoking and obesity aren’t choices, but rather a result of the situation we find ourselves living in.
That’s an excuse. Like I said — nobody is born obese and nobody is born a smoker. Hispanic women are some of the poorest folks in our country and they have one of the lowest rates of smoking in the United States. It’s not about being poor. It’s the culture we live in.
Our current healthcare reform is a modern day Tuskegee experiment. What we have promised is FREE=MORE. You can get all your healthcare you need without questions or explanations and you can get it paid for by others if you are too poor to care about what effect your choices have on the economics of those around you. It’s class warfare at its finest.
In a land of social solidarity, those with means feel an obligation to provide for those with less resources, outside of government control, but those of limited means also feel a sense of obligation to limit their consumption of resources. In America and America’s healthcare reform, those with means have been taken hostage out of force to pay for those with less resources. However, there is no sense of moral obligation by those receiving the fruits of other’s labors to limit their consumption. Watch the tax implications of healthcare reform unfold before you.
Take witness to the band of Medicaid theives roaming Happy’s ER. They use the Medicaid card as their own form of theivery, stealing from me to pay themselves. They aren’t Medicaid patients. They are family members using their family member’s Medicaid card to obtain fully-paid healthcare services, and sometimes selling the prescription medications they receive on the street.
This is the future peak of what our healthcare system will look like when pre-exisiting conditions are abolished across all health insurance mandates. Nobody will care about what medical condition you have. I can see, for example, families banding together to share their Medicare and Medicaid or even their Blue Cross or United Health insurance cards to get all their care paid through defacto shared family insurance plans. You have a brother or sister who doesn’t want to buy insurance? They could just borrow the insurance card from their family.
Why wouldn’t you? If there is no risk of being denied health insurance based on your pre-existing medical conditions, why wouldn’t you share your card with your family? With the biggest expansion ever in the Medicaid program coming down the pipes, why wouldn’t families play the Medicaid arbitrage? And why would hospitals or clinics care? What obligation would they have to turn you in? They aren’t the police. If given the choice between getting paid with a fake card and not getting paid at all, I’m sure most businesses would look the other way and allow the greatest theft of taxpayer resources that every lived.
Welcome to America’s new reality, where everyone becomes a criminal and nobody cares, because everybody gets paid.
*This blog post was originally published at The Happy Hospitalist*