The story begins:
Add this to the scary but improbable things people are hearing could happen because of the new federal health-care law: After you die, the state could come after your house.(..)
This is not an issue for people buying private coverage on online marketplaces. And experts say it is unlikely that the millions of people in more than two dozen states becoming eligible for Medicaid under the program’s expansion will be affected by this rule. But the fear that the government could one day seize their homes is deterring some people from signing up.
Of course, it's best to just go there and read the whole thing. There's actually a reasonable summary of many of the issues, sandwiched oddly between dismissive statements. "Experts" are sure that this couldn't really be a problem, despite the fact that "Experts say there are no good, recent national data on how asset recovery is applied, with states differing drastically and working on a case-by-case basis." Meantime,
Aaron Albright, a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said, “We recognize [the] importance of this issue and will provide states with additional guidance in this area soon.”
So maybe there is an issue that needs to be addressed. But wait - it's all in your mind - it's only worrisome because you don't understand it! The article closes quoting Elaine Ryan, a vice president at AARP:
“I would inquire about the application of [Medicaid asset recovery], but I wouldn’t succumb to the fear of rules you don’t understand as a reason you wouldn’t become covered under Medicaid,” she said.
Thank you, Ms. Ryan and AARP and the rest, but what about the rules we do
I think it's astonishing that all these "experts" are so quick to assert that low income people should sign their names to government forms that give the state the right to take their assets, while embracing a simple faith that sometime in the future the rules will be changed and it won't be a problem.
Meantime, AARP is waiting for the issue to be clarified before offering any advice (apparently they are feeling too cautious to advise people to be cautious?) and WaPo apparently thinks we just shouldn't worry our pretty little heads about it.
If you haven't read the previous diaries in this series they are here:
Estate Recovery and the ACA: drastic differences between states
"Medicaid is Welfare. It's right to expect repayment." With poll.
Medicaid Estate Recovery + ACA: Unintended Consequences?
Estate Recovery - It's Worse Than You Thought.