Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

ACA Medicaid expansion growth is 25% in 2020

The Good Part of Medicaid

Originally, Medicaid filled the gap if Americans could not afford healthcare insurance.

Today, Medicaid is filling the gap if people lost income and/or healthcare insurance during the pandemic. If below FPL or 138% FPL, people qualify for Medicaid. Others who were already in the ACA healthcare exchanges qualify for larger subsidies. Those not qualified for either were left stranded by president trump. in 2020

Newly elected President Biden is creating an opportunity for those not qualifying for Medicaid and lost their insurance to enroll in the ACA. Biden will open up healthcare exchanges so those who lost their jobs can enroll in new healthcare plans.

Meanwhile, Medicaid enrollment increased ~4 million from February 2020 due to Covid.

What Happens if You are 55 and Using Medicaid

First, lets answer a question. “Does the Affordable Care Act allow states to confiscate the estates of seniors on Medicaid when they die?”

The opponents of the ACA coined a commentary taking things out of context and citing, The Affordable Care Act confiscates the estates of seniors who were on Medicaid when they die.

History has it that all states had an option since Medicaid began in 1965 to recover some Medicaid costs from recipients after they died as Health and Human Services explained in a 2005 policy brief.

– In 1965, it was optional and states could only recoup Medicaid costs spent on those 65 years or older.

– It changed in 1993, when Congress passed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 budget bill   requiring states to recover the expense of long-term care and related costs for deceased Medicaid recipients 55 or older.

The 1993 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act also gave states the option to recover all other Medicaid expenses.

Angry Bear Site Updates

Some Information

Both Dan and I have been waylaid by Medical issues. Both of us are slowly coming out of what plagues us. We both are a little bit slow in responding. Eric had Covid and is better now.

Dan did talk to the site people who run the servers and also program our capabilities which are on going. He brought to light some of the issues I have read on site and were indirectly pointed out to me. Some answers:

Site Programming Administrator

-Wanted to share (programmers talking) a little more information about what we worked on at your site this morning (29th). We upgraded your resource usage on the server and updated the site for this. The front end was snappy to begin with; however, the back end was a little slow. This should be resolved now (my addition of a reply to EM took forever this morning [30th]. Inserting this post was slow too. I will let Dan know).

-Next week (February 1st), website is migrating to a new server which should help reduce these notifications (me: those notifications that only you can see and I can not).

As Dan finds out more, I will pass it on to you in a not-so- grouchy manner.

Biden Promises to Help Fix the Student Loan Crisis

There are those who always raise the issue of “I paid for mine, you pay for yours. I know of no other debt created by borrowing money where the penalty is a life time of servitude and the means of retirement in Social Security is also attached too.

Principal remains untouched and whatever money paid goes to interest atop of interest and penalties. By the time salary catches up and if it does, the interest and penalties have grown.

Allen Collinge of Student Loan Justice is finally getting national Coverage on TV.

Biden expected to tackle student loan debt crisis, what the impact would be, “Rebound,” January 25, 2020

President Joe Biden campaigned on a promise to help solve the student loan debt crisis, and many are expecting him to tackle that soon. On the campaign trail, he spoke about favoring some student loan debt forgiveness but was hesitant on the idea of wiping out the debt completely.

Student loan debt forgiveness, in any form, is very controversial. While some believe it is necessary for millions of Americans who are unable to pay these loans back. Others worry it will raise the national debt to help those who are unable to repay their loans.

Neal McCluskey, with the Cato Institute

Three days later in the Biden Administration

Letters from an American, Newsletter

History Professor Heather Cox Richardson at Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences, Boston College chronicles today’s political landscape. Because it is difficult to understand today’s politics without an outline of America’s Constitution, and laws, and the economy, and social customs; the professor’s newsletter explores what it means, and what it has meant, to be an American.

Professor Richardson follows in the same manner as did Hector St. John de Crevecoeur (Letters from an American) in recording the daily events of our nation during the Revolution.

History doesn’t repeat itself, but it sure rhymes.

Three days (January 23rd) into the Biden administration and lots of commenters are noting the return of calm in the media, and the return of a sense of stability in the government. People are sleeping so much better that the word “slept” trended on Twitter the day after the inauguration.

President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris appear to be eager to reestablish expertise as the foundation for public service. Biden is appointing what the Washington Post calls “technocrats” and what others have called “nerds” to public service. The former president tried to “burrow” his loyalists into office, politicizing positions that were supposed to be nonpartisan. Biden asked for the resignations of those political appointees and, when they refused to resign, fired them.  

While some right-wing Republicans have howled that Biden’s firing of burrowing Trump loyalists betrays his promise of “unity,” in fact the new administration’s quick restoration of a qualified, nonpartisan bureaucracy is an attempt to stabilize our democracy.


Dale Coberly is a writer and frequent commenter at Angry Bear Blog who is well known for his understanding of Social Security and his proposed Northwest Plan. The Northwest plan was recognized by the Social Security administration as a solution to fixing the shortfall in funding now thought to be in 2034.

An article about Social Security appeared in the Washington Post today. As written by another journalist on the Social Security beat who knows nothing about Social Security but what was told by the famous “non partisan experts.” Experts who are expert liars, “non partisan” of course, and well paid by the people who have hated Social Security.

I thought it worthwhile to try once again to give truth a chance.  In the following I put the article’s statements in quotes.  My observations follow each.

Another urgent item for Biden’s to-do list: The looming Social Security funding crisis ( by Michelle Singletary

“Biden needs to put this on his to-do list: fixing Social Security. Many young adults already believe Social Security won’t be around for them to collect. Although Social Security isn’t bankrupt, it’s certainly facing a serious shortfall in income to cover promised payments.”

Tennessee’s Block Grant Is Approved by H.H.S.

Restoring Medicaid,” What happens when states switch to Block Grants? I came across a NYT article citing Seema Verma’s approval of the Tennessee’s Block Grant recently. The Tennessee Block Grant is mentioned in section ” Revoke The Block Grant Initiative” of my post Restoring Medicaid.

What Are Block Grants?

Government funded normal Medicaid has established rules for coverage and benefits. In an exchange for greater freedom offered to states and an open-ended payment commitment, states pay a share of Medicaid. Using the Block Grant initiative and capped federal funding , states can decide what services to provide.

If the Block Grant spending is less, Tennessee can keep 55% of any savings. Savings can be used for anything related to healthcare and not just Medicaid. If the spending increases beyond the Cap, Tennessee makes up the difference. Program limitations can change to allow the spending cap to grow if enrollment increases such as what is happening during the Pandemic.

Medicaid pays for a wide variety of pharmaceuticals and pays the lowest price “today” of any pharmaceutical purchase in the United States. Under a Block Grant, Tennessee negotiates the drug pricing. One danger is if a drug is too expensive, Tennessee can reject covering it in its formulary.

Why Can Block Grants Be Bad?

Restore Medicaid to Its Former Self Quickly

Me – Talk: Recent article on Health Affairs I tapped into and decided to present here at AB. The topic? As expressed in the title, return Medicaid to its former self and improved upon by the new Biden Administration. I also have been working on additional posts touching upon the history of the opioid epidemic by the numbers, single payer, and a comparison to the a European healthcare model.

“In Its First 100 Days, The Biden Administration Must Restore The Soul Of Medicaid, Health Affairs,” Nicole Hubereld, Paul Shafer

Some Purpose . . .

The new administration should turn things around quickly and fix the damage trump and his administration did as sponsored by Republicans and supporters. This is as vital as getting stimulus money to people.

With the pandemic and many out of work, one of the top priorities for President Biden in his first 100 days should be: repeal the changes to Medicaid over the last 4 years by Republicans driving the Trump administration – bus. Medicaid provides a safety-net covering nearly one-quarter of the population today and will also cover those who have recently lost income and insurance. Nothing could be more vital during a pandemic than people needing healthcare.

The PPACA is not perfect but with the implementation of it, the expansion of Medicaid in 38 states and Washington D.C. came to be. It was “only” Republican opposition which stymied it in the other 12 states.

Simple Commenting Practices at Angry Bear

Commenting Information & Practices

  1. We do not see every comment made on every post. We are also not at Angry Bear all the time.
  2. Notify us about offensive, discriminatory, etc. comments. Dan, Eric or myself will review them and take action if needed. Understand, we do not see everything.
  3. Confine your actions to reporting. Try not to answer someone who is making offensive, discriminatory, etc. comments as it may encourage them.
  4. Becoming indignant with us for offensive, discriminatory, etc. comments does not make the comment go away.
  5. Making an offensive, discriminatory, etc. comments will likely result in a comment ending up in the trash “initially.”
  6. If a commenter persists in bad commenting practices, the commenter will end up in “spam” and banned.
  7. To my knowledge, Authors can see the comments to their posts.
  8. To my knowledge, authors do have the ability to trash a comment.

Commenting to Posts

  1. Stay on topic to a Post. Off-topic comments can be deleted.
  2. Each week, Dan puts up an Open Thread. Off-topic comments or subjects can be posted to the Open Thread. The rules are the same for offensive, discriminatory, etc. comments on the Open Thread.
  3. If you disagree with the author on the a post subject, you need to post your own references to support your point.
  4. Picking a fight with the author of a comment is not going to help you make your point.

I believe just about everyone understands this. It is no different elsewhere.

Political Consciousness From the Daily Grind

Commenter Dale Coberly asked for this particular story to be posted.

Renown Covid Restrictions Defier is Really Asking For A Better Government 

“We got a government that has taken the stimulus money and gave it to special campaign donors and special interests, abandoning me, and putting me in a position where I have to fight back, okay?

You could’ve given me money and I would gladly walk away for sixty days and let this virus settle down. I’m not gonna do it (without help) alone.”

Dave Morris, owner of D&R’s Daily Grind Cafe, is not afraid to say what is on his mind. He is curious though, whether anyone in power cares to listen. Though the Portage, Michigan business owner has garnered a good deal of attention since his impromptu broadside against the government and COVID-related shutdowns went viral, his curiosity remains justified. Because while figures like Tucker Carlson and Matt Walsh implicitly tokenize Morris as some sort-of antigovernmental warrior, it appears the substantive frustrations of Morris and the millions of other people in this country have remain unheeded. In reality, these frustrations stem from the government not serving as a guarantor of adequate material conditions for its people.

“I see the things we’ve lost since I was a young man raising my children. Pensions are almost non-existent for the normal working man and healthcare is non-existent. Twelve years, I can’t afford it, Affordable Care Act – not affordable,”

Morris laments.