Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tinderholt proposes reigning in program recently seen Subsidizing Heroin Addiction


“A wicked messenger falls into trouble,
But a faithful ambassador brings health.”
Proverbs 13:17

There's been a longer piece about the personal tragedies being wrought by the decrepit national economy making the rounds on social media the past few days; it contains this gem about the Medicaid program in Ohio:
But how did so many millions of un-working men, whose incomes are limited, manage en masse to afford a constant supply of pain medication? Oxycontin is not cheap. As Dreamland carefully explains, one main mechanism today has been the welfare state: more specifically, Medicaid, Uncle Sam’s means-tested health-benefits program. Here is how it works (we are with Quinones in Portsmouth, Ohio):
[The Medicaid card] pays for medicine—whatever pills a doctor deems that the insured patient needs. Among those who receive Medicaid cards are people on state welfare or on a federal disability program known as SSI. . . . If you could get a prescription from a willing doctor—and Portsmouth had plenty of them—Medicaid health-insurance cards paid for that prescription every month. For a three-dollar Medicaid co-pay, therefore, addicts got pills priced at thousands of dollars, with the difference paid for by U.S. and state taxpayers. A user could turn around and sell those pills, obtained for that three-dollar co-pay, for as much as ten thousand dollars on the street.
In 21st-century America, “dependence on government” has thus come to take on an entirely new meaning.

You may now wish to ask: What share of prime-working-age men these days are enrolled in Medicaid? According to the Census Bureau’s SIPP survey (Survey of Income and Program Participation), as of 2013, over one-fifth (21 percent) of all civilian men between 25 and 55 years of age were Medicaid beneficiaries. For prime-age people not in the labor force, the share was over half (53 percent). And for un-working Anglos (non-Hispanic white men not in the labor force) of prime working age, the share enrolled in Medicaid was 48 percent.

By the way: Of the entire un-working prime-age male Anglo population in 2013, nearly three-fifths (57 percent) were reportedly collecting disability benefits from one or more government disability program in 2013. Disability checks and means-tested benefits cannot support a lavish lifestyle. But they can offer a permanent alternative to paid employment, and for growing numbers of American men, they do. The rise of these programs has coincided with the death of work for larger and larger numbers of American men not yet of retirement age. We cannot say that these programs caused the death of work for millions upon millions of younger men: What is incontrovertible, however, is that they have financed it—just as Medicaid inadvertently helped finance America’s immense and increasing appetite for opioids in our new century.
Which makes the recently filed HB 1871 by Tony Tinderholt all the more important:
Representative Tinderholt Files HB 1871 to Audit Medicaid

In an effort to protect the integrity of Medicaid and ensure taxpayer dollars are not being wasted, State Representative Tony Tinderholt has filed HB 1871 to audit the state Medicaid program.  
Most Texans agree the elimination of abuse and fraud from government programs is important. HB 1871 requires Medicaid recipients recertify their eligibility when current benefits expire. It also begins a quarterly audit of the program. Qualified individuals would be notified to ensure they continue receiving uninterrupted care during the recertification and audit processes. 
Tinderholt commented on his bill saying, "To make sure resources are available to fund programs like Medicaid, we must stamp out waste in the system. It is our duty as legislators to monitor agency spending and ensure taxpayer dollars are being used in an efficient manner." 
While exact estimates vary, experts conclude Medicaid waste numbers in the tens of billions of dollars annually in the United States. While funding comes from a number of sources, including state and federal agencies, individual states exhibit the greatest control of finding fraud in the program.    
Tinderholt said, "If people are receiving benefits to which they are not entitled, we have to get that under control. We want to be sure the funds are there for those that need them most." 
As a combat veteran, Tony has spent much of his life fighting to protect the life and liberty of others. This bill continues that fight. Tony Tinderholt represents District 94 where he lives with his wife Bethany in Arlington. Tony is a proud father, combat veteran, and conservative Republican. He was ranked the 3rd most conservative legislator of the 150 Texas Representatives.
While we're on the subject, learn more about Texas specific examples of Medicaid abusing the vulnerable here.

Bottom Line: Medicaid has always been a fiscal trainwreck, but when socialized medicine subsidizes the drug abuse we owe it to our vulnerable citizens to curtail this abusive program.  In other words, we owe it to both ourselves and the recipients.  That's win/win.

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