Arizona Ends Medical Expense Deduction Program

The networking site, “Linked-In” has several groups for insurance agents, and there were recently some posts about the Obamacare mandate requiring everyone to buy health insurance starting in 2014.  I offered my thoughts on health insurance and the mandate as follows:

Until July of this year, Arizona Medicaid, known as AHCCCS (Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System)  and pronounced “access”, was very generous and would provide health insurance for people who ended up in the hospital without health insurance – even if they were not indigent. I have met accountants, property managers, and housewives who did not have insurance, got sick, and ended up in the hospital with huge bills. The hospital social worker signed them up for the for the AHCCCS Medical Expense Deduction  (MED) program and covered them for six months to more than a year.

Under the Medical Expense Deduction program, the state of Arizona provided people with health insurance and covered them 100% for their hospital bills and ongoing medical care.  As of July 1, 2011 the program was canceled, but those already in the system continue to get coverage.  I wrote about this program in a previous post: “Arizona Should Not Help People with Their Medical Bills”.

I am a generally a “bleeding heart liberal”, but I am glad to see the end of a program that rewarded people who went without health insurance and provided them with 100% coverage and no penalty for sticking the state and taxpayers with their bills.

I’m at the point where I think people who show up at the ER without health insurance should be turned away. How dare they think their state, or the hospital, and ultimately those of us with insurance, should pay their bills. So let ’em croak on the hospital doorstep!

Is that a good idea? And what is the solution to the problem of 40+ million Americans without health insurance? I think it is the same idea Republicans proposed in the 1990’s and John McCain campaigned on in 2008: A mandate that everyone have health insurance (with tax breaks to help people of low and middle-income levels afford the coverage).

I guess I’m liberal on some things and conservative on others.  Or perhaps the idea that people should not get a free ride is neither conservative nor liberal. And perhaps the idea that everyone needs to take responsibility and get health insurance is just common sense.  So why do Republicans insist that “You can’t make me get health insurance!” – even though hospitals cannot turn people away from the emergency room? And I don’t understand why Republicans want to kill the bill that reforms the costly and crazy health insurance system we have now.

What Next?

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3 Responses to "Arizona Ends Medical Expense Deduction Program"

  1. Marina says:

    Hmmmm, so people that are too poor to afford any sort of health insurance should be left to die on the streets like in India and other countries that don’t care about most of their population?

    I don’t like this health care mandate, but I am for single-payer. 
    Oops, forgot this is socialism.  

  2. terese dudas says:

    It may be time for a Mother Teresa to come to the rescue in Arizona.  Warren Buffet, et al, might be interested in underwriting this charity.

  3. medicareblogger says:

    Poor people get AHCCCS/Medicaid because they live on less than $908 per month or less. I don’t have a problem with them getting help because many are disabled and/or sick.  People who have gotten help with the Medical Expense Deduction Program are often working people who were too cheap to buy health insurance – or perhaps they had a pre-existing condition that disqualified them from getting health insurance. 
    People who could get insurance and chose not to buy it should have had their life savings wiped out rather than getting the state of Arizona to step in to pay their bills. They gambled that they wouldn’t get sick, but they did. So why should Arizona help them?
    I get angry when I think about these people who could have gotten even a high-deductible/low-premium plan – but they chose not to. And when they got sick, the state became their insurance provider and paid their medical bills.
    So I get mad at those people who gambled and lost, but didn’t lose because of the MED program (that is being phased out).  And then I get mad because so many people are against the Affordable Care Act mandate that everyone  buy health insurance.  How else are we going to stop the problem of freeloaders if we don’t make people pay what they can for health insurance?

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