A handful of left-wing advocates held a press conference earlier this week demanding that Gov. McCrory hold a special legislative session to re-consider North Carolina’s decision to refuse Medicaid expansion available under the Unaffordable Care Act.
In response to this, Annette Smith – a mother of a special-needs son who has been enrolled in NC Medicaid for several years – wrote Civitas to warn that those lobbying to expand Medicaid should “be careful what you ask for.” Smith then shares her horrific experience with Medicaid (emphasis added).
There are thousands of DHHS and Medicaid employees in NC who are good employees but they are forced to defend and uphold bad policy and regulations.
My son and I have gone through 3 DHHS Medicaid appeal hearings this year (one county and two state). In each instance, the process is conducted without the benefit of any thought, common sense or reasoning. They all parrot the same answer: “This is what the policy says and we must abide by it”. Two of the state hearings utilized the same final hearing officer which was a waste of my time and the State’s money. It is clear the process is more about moving paper and churning cases and less about meeting the needs of those ensnared in the system.
Being on Medicaid, twice a year we are required to send the State my son’s bank statement to ensure he has no more than $2000 in total assets. If my son wished to work and earn money, $1 out of every $2 earned would have to be given to Medicaid. If my son wishes to marry, but marries an able bodied woman, all of his benefits will be taken away from him. He may keep his Medicaid only if he marries another disabled person.
His wheelchair had a retail cost of $80,000, a staggering expense for any family. The Medicare cost was $40,000+ and we had to pay $10,400 out of pocket for the options not deemed necessary by Medicare/Medicaid. There was never any thought or consideration as to how he was going to pay this amount even though the system is structured in such a way as to deter his ability to earn any income. All we asked during the appeal is to treat the wheelchair as a medical expense and allow us to apply the out of pocket costs towards our spend down deductible. It was denied because wheelchairs according to the current Medicaid regulations are not considered medical expenses thus cannot be applied toward any deductible.
The point is the system is absolutely void of common sense and is not working. Maybe if you find yourself on Medicaid, the system will be kinder to you and pass rules to make your life better and easier with the ACA. But if you are born disabled through no fault of your own, prepare to be baffled and discriminated against. Not until the government bankrupts you and your whole family, will they be satisfied. You will be at the mercy of a system void of common sense, compassion and human dignity. Dept. of Health and Human Services? Bah! I say it is the Dept. of Hell and Inhuman Services. Our next stop is superior court to see if a judge can do anything. Any lawyers willing to take this on?
Advocate for all who suffer the NC Medicaid injustices
Ms. Smith paints a vivid picture of a cold, inflexible, baffling, nonsensical program designed to control people’s lives and provide perverse incentives against gaining financial independence. This reveals the true intent on those Medicaid expansion advocates: an increase of state power and government dependence in order to accumulate greater political power.