Families Need Medicaid Like Fish Need Bicycles

Author’s Note: This is the sixth in a series of articles about Nebraska’s Medicaid program, the Unicameral’s apparent intent to expand it, and the many reasons why expansion is an uncommonly bad idea. Although they don’t have to be read in order, here are links to the previously-published articles in the series:
  1. NE Medicaid Expansion: The Race is On
  2. Let’s See What Condition Our Condition is In
  3. People Don’t Walk Away From a Fool and His Money
  4. Sending Granny (and Gramps) to the Home
  5. Congratulations! She’s Having His Baby . . . And You’re Paying for It!

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

“The option of expanding Medicaid isn’t just an issue of money. . . . This is a human question. This is the right thing to do.”

Senator Bob Krist

VERSUS “To relieve the misfortunes of our fellow creatures is concurring with the Deity; it is godlike; but, if we provide encouragement for laziness, and supports for folly, may we not be found fighting against the order of God and Nature, which perhaps has appointed want and misery as the proper punishment for, and cautions against, as well as necessary consequences of, idleness and extravagance? Whenever we attempt to amend the scheme of Providence, and to interfere with the government of the world, we had need be very circumspect, lest we do more harm than good.1

Benjamin Franklin

Hmmm. I have to go with Dr. Franklin. Senator Krist couldn’t be more wrong. Here’s why:

Is it RIGHT for government programs to rupture the bonds that hold families together?  They called Ronald Reagan the Great Communicator for a reason. I’ve never heard anyone explain the impact of the entitlement state upon the individual and the family using so few words packed with so much power and meaning.   For example:
Perhaps the most insidious effect of welfare is its usurpation of the role of provider. In States where payments are highest, for instance, public assistance for a single mother can amount to much more than the usable income of a minimum wage job. In other words, it can pay for her to quit work. Many families are eligible for substantially higher benefits when the father is not present. What must it do to a man to know that his own children will be better off if he is never legally recognized as their father? Under existing welfare rules, a teenage girl who becomes pregnant can make herself eligible for welfare benefits that will set her up in an apartment of her own, provide medical care, and feed and clothe her. She only has to fulfill one condition—not marry or identify the father ” (emphasis added).2

We all know that women need men like fish need bicycles, right?

But what do their CHILDREN need?

          Research indicates that marriage reduces the probability of child poverty by 82 percent (82%) nationally. In Nebraska, the reduction is even higher — 86 percent (86%). FOR THIS REASON, IT’S ACCURATE TO SAY THAT  MARRIAGE IS NEBRASKA’S NUMBER ONE WEAPON AGAINST CHILD POVERTY. But the value of having a husband and father within the home is greater than the money he contributes to the household.
Children raised by married parents have substantially better life outcomes compared to similar children raised in single-parent homes. When compared to children in intact married homes, children raised by single parents are more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems; be physically abused; smoke, drink, and use drugs; be aggressive; engage in violent, delinquent, and criminal behavior; have poor school performance; be expelled from school; and drop out of high school. Many of these negative outcomes are associated with the higher poverty rates of single mothers. In many cases, however, the improvements in child well-being that are associated with marriage persist even after adjusting for differences in family income. This indicates that the father brings more to his home than just a paycheck.
Yet, since the 1960s, we have created and set in motion a welfare system that actively penalizes low-income couples who marry. The result? Thirty-five percent (35%) of the nation’s children live with a single-parent, most of whom are women. Among minorities, the percentage is higher than among whites. Almost seventy percent (70%) of black children, fifty percent (50%) of American Indian children, and forty percent (40%) of Hispanic or Latino children live in single-parent, mostly female-headed households. It’s time to stop and ask ourselves, exactly what are we doing to those we seek to help? You’re right, Senator Krist, when you say this is a human problem. But you’re fatally wrong when you say expanding Medicaid is the right thing to do. Medicaid and entitlement programs like it ARE the problem. Sucking more Nebraska families into this dead-end system is exactly the wrong thing to do.
Image Credit & Copyright Notice
The image in the post was found at the following link… A Woman Needs a Man Like a Fish Needs a Bicycle formerly/http://streamrambler.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/017.jpg
Footnotes, References & Citations
  1. This quote is taken from a letter Benjamin Franklin wrote to Peter Collinson in 1753.  Readers can view the letter in its entirety and, by doing so, read the quote in its complete context at the link provided at Dr. Franklin’s name in the body of the article, above, or HERE if that is more convenient.
  2. Reagan made these comments in 1986.  Current rules require a pregnant woman seeking Medicaid assistance, under certain conditions, to cooperate in identifying third parties who may be liable to reimburse the government for the cost of her pregnancy-related medical care.  It appears current rules excuse pregnant women and women generally Medicaid-eligible (i.e., not just eligible for pregnancy-related coverage) from this requirement if they can show “good cause.”