States are desperate for ways to make their budgets more cost-effective. Illinois found a way—but the federal government won’t let the state implement a requirement that would help repair its faulty Medicaid system.
Federal government health care laws are preventing a new Medicaid ID requirement—passed by bipartisan majorities in the state—from going into effect. The legislation gained the support of Republican and Democratic caucuses in the state with Rep. Patti Bellock (R-Westmont) and Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago) moving the bill forth. Gov. Pat Quinn (D) signed it into law.
The requirement would stop Medicaid payments to those who live out of state or earn too much income to qualify for the entitlement. Directing the money to residents and qualified applicants only will result in more available funds for those who rightly and truly need it. The ineffective federal restriction for this bill received more attention this week when Senator Mark Kirk (R–IL) and Representative Judy Biggert (R–IL) spoke out.
The ability for non-qualified individuals to received Medicaid benefits exists due to former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s (D) decision to drop a requirement that individuals present two pay stubs to prove residency and income requirements. The change resulted in an influx of many patients who should not have received Medicaid assistance.
The case in Illinois is just one of many examples of the wrong people benefiting from the Medicaid program, which was created to assist the poor and most vulnerable members of society. A few weeks ago, Heritage reported on an oversight in the Obamacare legislation that could result in more than 24 million Americans acquiring Medicaid, including couples in early retirement who make up to $64,000 per year. Clearly, government dependency has gotten out of control, and what was meant to be a safety net in tough times has become the default source of health coverage for millions of Americans.
So why is the federal government so quick to shell out more taxpayer dollars to people who don’t really need them? It’s obvious these federal laws were hastily created, and now Americans are paying for the inefficiencies.
In Illinois, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sent officials a letter just two weeks before the new ID requirement began, stating that federal health care reform law doesn’t allow states to change their eligibility to drop current patients.
Medicaid is unable to achieve more effective and efficient coverage due to the heavy-handed role Washington plays in regulating the program, and this case illustrates how federal involvement perpetuates Medicaid’s shortcomings. Big-government bureaucracy within the health care system distorts the intent of government assistance programs and contributes to the entitlement culture that has pushed America into $14.3 trillion of debt.
As Kirk said in the Chicago Sun-Times, the federal government’s refusal to honor the new ID law “defies common sense.”