Trapped in America's Safety Net

Trapped in America's Safety Net

One Family's Struggle

Andrea Louise Campbell

most Americans will eventually be eligible for Medicare, a federal program. If some of them are in poorer health by the time they reach the age of sixty-five because they were uninsured as adults due to state policy (such as narrow Medicaid eligibility), then the national program is worse off: those people will end up being more costly than healthier individuals from a state that provides more expansive social assistance. Beyond these pragmatic matters is the fact that the national government is supposed to promote “the general welfare.” Dramatic cross-state differences in public policy arguably conflict with this tenet of American citizenship.

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