The Dementia Tax

One of the more fascinating issues to arise out of the fascinating UK election is what’s known as — thanks to Jeremy Corbyn’s clever branding — the “Dementia Tax”. This was a plan by Prime Minister Theresa May to, as the Murdoch-owned Sun put it, “ask wealthier pensioners to pay a little extra for their care to protect the poor”.

It didn’t go down well. Under the original plan, “pensioners would pay for residential care or help in their own home from their homes, with their last £100,000 protected.” Meaning: The government wouldn’t help until you’ve drained your savings down to a mere six digits.

Imagine! Only $125,000 left to your name!

Actually, we don’t have to imagine it. We’ve been dealing with it the past year.

For starters, our mom has dementia. And our dad had back surgery last summer, on top of diabetes. Both are in their 80s, and both are now in long-term care, after living more than a half-century in one house.

The monthly expense for both of them is many thousands of dollars. Many. Many, many, many.

Here’s how this works, when Medicare and supplemental insurance are no longer equal to many, many, many:

You sign over everything you own to the state.

Specifically, all your pension income is funneled into an “income-cap trust”, beyond your personal reach. The “cap” here is a legal means to qualify you for Medicaid if you’re not (yet) destitute. With a trust, you no longer have any income. You are now, for official purposes, poor.

And with that trust, you are provided a budget. Your budget spends down all available income on your health expenses, except for a $60 monthly allowance. Medicaid then covers the rest.

You can also keep a car, if you have one, and you’re not necessarily kicked out of your home. But Medicaid tracks your costs as you go, and when you die, they have first dibs on your estate. Your $300,000 home, even if was paid, wouldn’t leave much if anything left over.

We’ve become something of an instant expert on this, since we’re in charge of both our parents’ trusts. We see the numbers, we get the bills, we understand the consequences.

And we know there was no spare $125,000 to begin with, much less left over.

And here is what happened in the UK: A Conservative plan to limit government health liability to a level unimaginably more generous than what we’ve been dealing with the past year was immediately and roundly panned by everybody.

While Republicans here are planning to cut Medicaid benefits below the subsistence levels we barely enjoy now.

Paul Ryan and Donald Trump want to kill our parents. And if Senate Republicans succeed in cobbling together anything like the House healthcare plan, we’ll add Mitch McConnell to the list of murderers.

23 comments:

1:05 am • Saturday • June 10, 2017

Oh my dear Nojo, what a fucking shitshow. I am so sorry that you are going through this hell with your parents. Un-fucking-believeable. Hugs to you.

2:46 am • Saturday • June 10, 2017

@SanFranLefty: Well, it’s manageable, and we’re a very practical family. What happens if Medicaid goes south is another matter.

9:07 am • Monday • June 12, 2017

Goddamn. Better to invest in lottery tickets and/or cyanide and/or a gun with one bullet than retire.

Just found out one of my best friends dad tried to kill his mom, but was thwarted by the cops. A brain scan showed serious brain deterioration compared to the last one. Probably going to spend the rest of his remaining days in a mental ward.

12:40 pm • Monday • June 12, 2017

@nojo: (hugs)

2:37 pm • Monday • June 12, 2017

@¡Andrew!: Thanks, but we’re notoriously not huggers. A crisp handshake and slight nod of the head is sufficient.

Note: Does not apply to critters. We have to take out our sublimated affection on something.

7:24 pm • Tuesday • June 13, 2017

So did we learn anything new from Granny Clampett today? Did he commit more perjuries?(I couldn’t stand even reading his testimony, since it’s sure to be 100%, weapons-grade buuullllssshhhiiiit).

10:46 pm • Tuesday • June 13, 2017

@¡Andrew!: Listening to Rachel’s recap right now. Between her and TPM Josh, sounds like Sessions ain’t no snitch.

5:04 pm • Wednesday • June 14, 2017

“Why do we have a Second Amendment? It’s not to shoot deer. It’s for shooting at the government when it becomes tyrannical!”

Rand Paul, noted crisis actor and Alexandria playfield hoaxer
June 23, 2016

5:50 pm • Wednesday • June 14, 2017

@¡Andrew!: America needs to address its White-on-White violence.

6:58 pm • Wednesday • June 14, 2017

@nojo:
Guns don’t kill people… it’s a false flag op… it’s all a hoax… Rand Paul is a crisis actor… if they’d just rushed the shooter, they could have stopped it… did I miss any of the usual sickening lies spouted by those evil scumbags?

Oh yeah: Twits ‘n Prayers!!!

7:42 pm • Wednesday • June 14, 2017

@¡Andrew!: Some Congresscritter today dropped the Good People With Guns line, overlooking that (1) Capitol Police were there, and (2) we arming softball teams now?

4:58 pm • Thursday • June 15, 2017

@nojo: Two black cops, one of them a lesbian, got shot protecting a homophobe who’s called himself “David Duke without the baggage.”
I should think those GOP reps would have some ‘splaining to do as to why they weren’t packing heat at the time. Why were they cowering like babies in the dugout instead of returning fire?

6:53 pm • Thursday • June 15, 2017

Some good news!

Both Ireland and Serbia (!) have made history as they both now have gay and lesbian prime ministers, respectively. The Irish PM is the son of Indian immigrants(!).

AND

On the red carpet at this year’s Tony Awards, Patti LuPone told a Variety reporter that she hopes Donald Trump never makes a trip to Broadway to see her in War Paint.

“Because I won’t perform if he does,” she said.

“Tell me why,” begged the reporter.

“Because I hate the motherfucker. How’s that?”

7:03 pm • Thursday • June 15, 2017

@Mistress Cynica: From what I’ve read of Sleazy’s (R, KKK) injuries, it sounds like his recovery is gonna be a living hell, followed by a sweaty, screamin’ opioid addiction. I hereby wish him a lifetime of angry, militant African American nurses.

8:36 pm • Thursday • June 15, 2017

@¡Andrew!: I will admit to impolite thoughts when I heard the news yesterday. I will further admit those thoughts have not abated.

8:37 pm • Thursday • June 15, 2017

(Meanwhile, Some Geek needs to reboot the server tonight.)

(We still here? First reboot in a year, explains why all those server updates weren’t firing.)

(Nudder reboot, to shake out any remaining gunk. I hope.)

(Hour later, server hasn’t hollered.)

9:30 pm • Thursday • June 15, 2017

@nojo:
“Those who ignore history are condemned to retweet it.”

— David Brooks (yes, it’s gotten so bad that I can stand reading David Brooks)

10:38 am • Saturday • June 17, 2017

@¡Andrew!: Broken clock, such as.

2:17 pm • Sunday • June 18, 2017

Our mom is 86, on dialysis 3 times a week, and generally miserable, but she still has a razor sharp mind. What can I say to you?

2:45 pm • Sunday • June 18, 2017

@blogenfreude: I, of course, take it personally: This is the first evidence of dementia in my family, mainly because previous generations had heart attacks first. None of us saw it coming, least of all Mom. (Dad’s also become a bit dotty, but it’s hard to tell what’s the post-surgery medication, and what isn’t.)

Me, I’ve been put on notice: I have twentyish years to prepare for a life of leaving Memento notes to myself, and a just fate of not getting my own obscure references.

8:48 pm • Sunday • June 18, 2017

@nojo: Not to nag you, but I will because I care. Are you still smoking cigarettes or have you switched to vaping weed now that you’re in the Mile High state?

9:05 pm • Sunday • June 18, 2017

@SanFranLefty: Vaping nicotine for a few years. The opportunity to enjoy legal THC has largely been lost on me, seeing as it cane roughly thirty years too late.

11:11 am • Monday • June 19, 2017

@SanFranLefty: I’m totally that person with my friends, especially after a couple drinks. “I care about you and it makes me sad that you smoke. Please stop.” And I don’t mind playing the “Smoking killed my grandpa!” card. Whatever it takes.

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