Are the right people on Medicaid?
Medicaid was established for low-income children, pregnant women, the disabled and seniors. In 2015 Montana’s Medicaid program added adults without children, costing taxpayers another $800 million a year. But are recipients really low-income?
There’s a huge problem in some of the states that “expanded” Medicaid, as Montana did. Many individuals “appeared to gain Medicaid coverage for which they were seemingly income-ineligible.” Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Brian Blasé and Aaron Yelowitz say, “there’s evidence of massive improper enrollment … According to 2018 reports by the Inspector General’s Office at the Department of Health and Human Services, 25% of Medicaid expansion enrollees were likely ineligible in both California and New York. A state audit in Louisiana found 82% of expansion enrollees were ineligible at some point during the year they were enrolled. People who entered no income while exploring their options via the federal exchange website were automatically enrolled in Medicaid.”
A legislative audit here in Montana found the Department of Health and Human Services (DPHHS) “does not verify income prior to enrollment … and does not verify income information from FFM (federal website) applications,” and individuals do not have to, “report changes in income or resources.” One-fourth of flagged cases received no follow-up.
The audit states: “When ineligible people are enrolled in Medicaid and obtain Medicaid services, federal and state taxpayer dollars cover Medicaid services for people for whom they were not intended. This potentially leaves fewer resources for those actually eligible for benefits.”
DPHHS needs to tighten its income verification procedures to make sure taxpayer dollars are available to assist those with low incomes.
—Sen. Bob Keenan, Bigfork and Rep. Tom Burnett, Bozeman
Cries to ‘do something’
Most of us have seen the cartoon picture. A water pipe is broken in the kitchen shooting water all over the room. The panic stricken wife shouts to her husband, “Do something! Do SOMETHING, EVEN IF IT IS WRONG!”
That demand or cry to “DO SOMETHING EVEN IF IT IS WRONG!” seems to be on the lips of those proposing solutions to violent crimes and mass shootings. DO SOMETHING.
Often an unasked question is, had the proposed solution been in place would it have prevented the most recent tragedy from taking place?
An important question never asked or answered is, did the villain have a concealed carry permit? Was he (or she) a member of the terrible NRA?
There are two or three times the number of guns owned in the U.S. than the total population of the U.S. Yet with 600 million-plus guns in private hands in America, we don’t have millions of gun deaths. Why, because nearly all gun owners are responsible citizens and intend no harm to their fellow citizens.
The United States of America is the great experiment with a republican democracy that has succeeded for over 200 years, while many other experiments have come and failed in that same time period. The founding fathers of this republic had a great constitution created by men raised up by God to that very purpose. It is a great document, but too few have read it recently. Still it was not acceptable until the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments were added to it. Included there in is the 2nd Amendment, “…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Now that is pretty clear and lacks confusion.
Some say that the founding fathers did not intend that to include military-style (not military functioning but military-style) weapons. The folks forget that in 1776 a single-shot musket was a military weapon. It was the best weapon available and I’m sure that if AR-15’s or AK-47 had existed in 1776 they would not have changed the wording of the 2nd Amendment.
So finding a solution to mental cases causing mass shootings is more about medicine than about reducing the number of guns.
My gun has never been fired in anger and never at another human being. Remember, the police are not here to protect you, they are here to find the criminal who shot you after you have been shot. A five minute response time to a call for police help would be great, but usually takes four or five times that amount of time. I could be awfully dead by the time the police arrive if I cannot defend myself. If needed it is my plan to defend myself and family.
—Jim Eddington, Bigfork
Our family would like to thank the Creston Volunteer Fire Department for their valiant efforts to extinguish the lightning fire in our ancient ponderosa pine on Aug. 10.
CVFD made multiple trips with the final one a water and foam dousing, of which the tree ceased to burn. We hope to see the remaining live branches still green next spring.
Our sincere thanks to the CVFD for a job well done in preventing what could have been a much larger fire.
We encourage everyone to stop and say thank you to firemen and fire-women and the law enforcement officers — they put their lives on the line every day.
God bless you all.
—Allen and Nancy Zimmerman, Creston