Thursday, September 21, 2006

An Idea That Might Have Legs

Four central Ohio legislators have joined together to sponsor a change to the state's Medicaid law, allowing working people to buy the government-provided health insurance instead of losing eligibility altogether.

At first blush, this is one of the more novel ideas I have seen to cover the uninsured.

"Ohioans with disabilities want to work," he said. "This measure will enable Ohioans with disabilities to work without the threat of losing their Medicaid health coverage."

Many of the social welfare programs have disencentives built in to them. Earn too much, you forfeit your benefits. Sometimes the amount you can earn is only marginally better, or even worse after tax, than what you can get for "free" through public assistance.

Why would anyone try and get off public assistance when it is easier to maintain status quo?

As introduced, the bill would allow disabled individuals to earn up to 250 percent of the federal poverty guideline income amount but still remain eligible to buy Medicaid coverage.

To purchase coverage, the disabled person would have to pay a premium equal to 10 percent of the amount of their income that exceeds 150 percent of the federal poverty guideline for the applicable family size, after subtracting out any amounts already paid for health insurance to an employer.

Stivers said he was motivated to study the issue after attempting to hire a former Miss Wheelchair Ohio, Melissa Day, as a statehouse page.

Day could not accept the job because of the threat of losing Medicaid coverage, and instead served as a volunteer page

I will be anxious to see Professor Stern's take on this since he is the Buckeye and I am just a good ole southern boy.
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