Another reason to be careful what you wish for. Let us all hope that Obamacare is more than left unfunded, but that it is left DOA and DNR..........
Governor Deval Patrick has filed a bill that would require parents paying child support to reimburse the state if their child receives health care coverage under Medicaid, called MassHealth locally. This is the best example of misaligned incentives that I’ve heard of in quite some time.
The bill would require those who cannot afford private health coverage or do not have the option of enrolling their child in a private plan to reimburse the state up to 8 percent of their gross income for the cost of that dependent child’s health coverage under Medicaid.
So here’s the group of people this hurts:
Mostly low income, divorced fathers who are working, and are paying child support, but who are unable to afford health insurance. People who work as security guards, janitors, hospital orderlies or other professions where the companies don’t offer insurance, or where the wages are too low to buy the plan. This includes companies under 10 workers, which are not required by the state to offer insurance, and in some cases, have had to drop their health plan because it is too expensive.
This bill also hurts kids who are low income and live with a single parent, as that 8 percent cut in the parent’s income will likely be passed on to them.
Unemployed adults are easily able to access free care for themselves either through the Medical Security Plan, a vestige of pre-health reform unemployment programs, or through Commonwealth Care. Kids aren’t eligible for Commonwealth Care. That’s where MassHealth comes in.
Why would the state seek to penalize working low-income parents, when non-working adults have access to free care?
The state is facing many difficult choices as it seeks to balance the budget. But the savings from this measure wouldn’t be much - Patrick estimates $8 million in the first year.