Perspective: Can Staying Healthy Harm Your Health Care?

Apr 5, 2019


As an outdoorsman in my late 60's, I pride myself on the ability to still hike 14,000-foot mountains or bicycle 100 miles in a day. But can staying healthy actually have a downside? 


It can. When former Governor Pat Quinn expanded Medicaid under Obamacare, I finally had access to health care after years without it. A few years later, the calendar would provide me with Medicare. But Medicaid continues to be a crucial benefit. 


At least, it did. A new requirement, known as a spenddown, actually penalized me for NOT using services. It functions in the same way as a "deductible" in any insurance plan. Without receipts to verify expenses, I've been informed that coverage for me is denied. 


Anticipating people like me, Medicaid provides a way to pay the monthly spenddown directly to them. The amount for me is modest and within my means, but after waiting four entire months for the proper forms, I am left in medical limbo. 


What the people at HHS need to know is this: If that crucial additional coverage is no longer available to me, the chances are extremely good that when a serious medical issue does happen, I may forego seeking treatment. Yes, I have done that before during the decades I had no insurance. Springfield, are you listening? 

I'm Jim Kline, and that is my Perspective.