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Maybe we should call it Oopsbamacare?

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama’s health care law would let several million middle-class people get nearly free insurance meant for the poor, a twist government number crunchers say they discovered only after the complex bill was signed.

The change would affect early retirees: A married couple could have an annual income of about $64,000 and still get Medicaid, said officials who make long-range cost estimates for the Health and Human Services department.

After initially downplaying any concern, the Obama administration said late Tuesday it would look for a fix.

Up to 3 million more people could qualify for Medicaid in 2014 as a result of the anomaly. That’s because, in a major change from today, most of their Social Security benefits would no longer be counted as income for determining eligibility. It might be compared to allowing middle-class people to qualify for food stamps.

Medicare chief actuary Richard Foster says the situation keeps him up at night.

“I don’t generally comment on the pros or cons of policy, but that just doesn’t make sense,” Foster said during a question-and-answer session at a recent professional society meeting.

“This is a situation that got no attention at all,” added Foster. “And even now, as I raise the issue with various policymakers, people are not rushing to say … we need to do something about this.”

2 Responses to “Today’s Adventures in Government Planning”

  1. Harry says:

    In 1993, I read the whole Clinton health care bill, part of due diligence if any client held any stock in the health care industry.

    Even though the bill in print was about as thick as a two-layer cake, it was not as condensed as the OED, and since it was double-spaced in 12-point type, it was not a chore to get past minutae like the discussion of “rods” of tobacco that, of course, would be taxed.

    Then there were a few key pages, maybe five, that centered on the control that they wanted, which was to push prospective doctors into family practice and away from specialization, and to control what they all charge. These were regulations dreamed up by Washington attorneys.

  2. Harry says:

    And the brainy Ira Magaziner, the author of Brown University’s curriculum.

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