Today's paper has an article about Carletta Huff, a widow on Medicaid and in assisted housing who won a $50,000 prize in the paper's Treasure Hunt contest.
The tone of the article is one of forewarning, but also sadness. What could be sad about winning $50,000? It's Ms. Huff's circumstances. The article details her spending habits which are frugal and appear wise. But under Medicaid rules, recipients must spend all of their prize money before the end of the month or lose their benefits. While she did spend a large amount of the funds, she didn't keep all the receipts and didn't spend it in the allotted time frame.
The insanity is that this government program encourages such spending in order to remain dependent on the system. But the real insanity is the decision made in the first place.
The main concern expressed in the article by Ms. Huff and her family is the $850 in monthly medications that are covered by Medicaid. She is in danger of losing that.
Perhaps I'm missing something. This woman has received $50,000. She set aside $10,000 for taxes, but that still leaves her enough money to cover her prescriptions for 47 months - nearly four years.
Why, instead of spending the money so she could remain Medicaid eligible, didn't she just forgo the Medicaid prescription coverage and use her winnings to cover the costs? I can understand making a few fun purchases with unexpected income, but considering the need, wouldn't she have been better off saving her funds for her necessary prescriptions?
That the government program penalizes her for thrift is no surprise. I've come to the conclusion that government really doesn't want to eliminate the need for programs, but does everything within its power to maintain dependency on the system. And Ms. Huff's thinking is the prime example of the 'training' government foists upon its dependents.
You see, there really wasn't a need for Ms. Huff to use the prize money for her needs because they are already being met by you and me through taxation for these government programs. As a result, knowing her housing and medication costs are being paid for by others, she spent the money on wants. And now she finds that the rules require such warped economic decisions.
This is insanity - and I cannot help but wonder how we've ended up with such a system.