LTP News Sharing:

Americans pride themselves on living in a nation that values life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But as Able Americans Senior Advisor Melissa Ortiz points out, these opportunities are often held back from those with disabilities and medical conditions, as Medicaid rules prevent them from being able to move from state to state without severe financial and/or medical hardship:

While many ambitious Americans chase their opportunity without cause for concern, adults with a disability or families with children who are medically fragile often risk missing out on such opportunities because eligibility for Medicaid — government health care assistance for the needy — varies by state.

The difference in eligibility rules can make an interstate move for any reason almost impossible for those dependent on Medicaid.

When a Medicaid recipient moves to a new state, applications for new coverage cannot be made until they have established residency in that new state. Yet their existing coverage terminates as soon as they leave their old state for the new one. While there is a provision for three-months of retroactive coverage, the process to make the switch can often take longer….

Portability problems can cause a wide array of missed opportunities. For example, my friend’s daughter, who was born with a significant disability, could not go to the university of her dreams because it meant changing states and thus losing her Medicaid. Another friend, who was born with a neurological disability, lost out on a dream job because Medicaid in the state where she would have to move won’t cover the gap in what she needs to be able to live independently.

We as conservatives value federalism and the ability for states to make decisions that are best for their citizens, so what is the solution here?  Melissa recommends that governors take action to encourage reciprocity agreements:

States have reciprocity for the licensing of teachers and real-estate agents and other professions. States have marriage reciprocity. Can’t states also have Medicaid reciprocity? To protect federalism, it need not be an absolute. Start with a six-month portability to make the move easier….

Governors can begin the reform process on their own through executive action. Over time, they can work together to create interstate compacts that will ease Medicaid transitions.

Melissa’s entire commentary, as published in the American Thinker, is available here.

Author: The National Center