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Government must encourage personal responsibility, prohibit easy access to Medicaid

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Stephen Moses

Stephen Moses

Visiting Fellow

Stephen Moses is president of the Center for Long-Term Care Reform. The Center promotes universal access to top-quality long-term care by encouraging private financing as an alternative to Medicaid dependency for most Americans. Previously, Mr. Moses was president of the Center for Long- Term Care Financing (1998-2005), Director of Research for LTC, Inc., (1989-98), a senior analyst for the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (1987-89), a Medicaid state representative for the Health Care Financing Administration (1978-87), a HHS Departmental Management Intern (1975-78), and a Peace Corps Volunteer in Venezuela (1968-1970). He is widely recognized as an expert and innovator in the field of long-term care.

President at Paragon Health Institute
Brian Blase, Ph.D., is the President of Paragon Health Institute. Brian was Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy at the White House’s National Economic Council (NEC) from 2017-2019, where he coordinated the development and execution of numerous health policies and advised the President, NEC director, and senior officials. After leaving the White House, Brian founded Blase Policy Strategies and serves as its CEO.

Facts matter. To solve the nation’s looming long-term care financing crisis, policymakers must deal with one key fact. Most people do not consume their life savings paying for this care.

People believe this fallacy of impoverishment because so many older adults end up on the Medicaid welfare program, often in nursing homes. But the truth is that most people can easily access Medicaid when they need long-term care, or LTC. There are income and asset tests to gain eligibility for Medicaid, but for most people, the income test is irrelevant, and the asset test is easily satisfied.

On the income test, in most states, Medicaid subtracts applicants’ monthly health and LTC expenses from income before applying the “low income” standard, so only older Americans with a very high income fail this test. In other states, higher-income people can use sophisticated income diversion trusts to qualify.

On the asset test, most old people’s wealth is exempt. This includes most home equity, individual retirement accounts, a business, one vehicle, prepaid burial expenses, home furnishings and other belongings. Medicaid applicants can reduce nonexempt wealth by purchasing a new car or having their home remodeled.

The full article can be found in The Washington Times.

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