NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Medicaid for the Middle Class?

June 22, 2011

President Barack Obama's health care law would let several million middle class people get nearly free insurance meant for the poor, a twist government number crunchers say they discovered only after the complex bill was signed, reports the Washington Examiner.

The change would affect early retirees:

  • A married couple could have an annual income of about $64,000 and still get Medicaid, said officials who make long-range cost estimates for the Health and Human Services department.
  • Up to 3 million people could qualify for Medicaid in 2014 as a result of the anomaly.
  • That's because, in a major change from today, most of their Social Security benefits would no longer be counted as income for determining eligibility.

Early retirees would be a new group for Medicaid.  While retirees can now start collecting Social Security at age 62, they must wait another three years to get Medicare, unless they're disabled.

  • The actuary's office said the 3 million early retirees who would become eligible for Medicaid are on top of an estimated 16 million to 20 million people that the law would already bring into the program, by opening it to childless adults with incomes near the poverty level.
  • Federal taxpayers will cover all of the initial cost of the expansion.

Source: "A Glitch in Obamacare Could Give Middle Class Insurance Coverage Intended for the Poor," Washington Examiner, June 21, 2011.


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