The Massachusetts Posthumous Benefits Program

Jeannie DeAngelis
Fifty-four percent of Americans oppose and are suspicious of the Affordable Health Care Act for many reasons - one being that it's clearly neither healthy nor affordable. 

But what if that weren't true?  What if the whole country was anticipating Obamacare's full implementation with bated breath and every negative thing that's bound to hit the finest healthcare system in the world didn't hit - would it matter?

Probably not, because even in the best case scenario, ultimately this is government-run healthcare we're talking about here, and central administration has proven time and again that simultaneous mobility and mastication require more coordination than officialdom can handle.

A micro example of a macro problem that accurately illustrates what lies ahead when bureaucrats run the show was on full display in Massachusetts, a state that prides itself on its 2006 healthcare renovation, "An Act Providing Access to Affordable, Quality, Accountable Health Care," which has since proven to be an unmitigated disaster. 

In a 2011 article in the Wall Street Journal entitled "The Massachusetts Health-Reform Mess," John E. Calfee wrote:

Massachusetts has demonstrated that the most important effects of its reform arise not from the letter of the law but from the law's unintended and unpredictable consequences. The state is lurching from one crisis to another as it attempts to construct a system vastly different from any seen before or anything contemplated when reform was first passed. Health care in the state is evolving toward a state-run version of Medicare combined with government reorganization of the delivery of medical care.

No wonder things are in total disarray.  The Massachusetts state auditor recently "identified 1,164 cases where recipients continued to receive a total of $2.39 million in benefits from six to 27 months after they were reported to be deceased."  That's right - an audit of the Massachusetts Health and Human Services Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) turned up 1,164 dead people who were still receiving welfare benefits six months to two-plus years after their funerals. 

Why does that matter?  It matters because Americans are about to place our lives into the hands of a similar group of public employees who are guaranteed to also have difficulty keeping track of who is dead and who is alive.

With the government, the trouble always begins with good intentions.  According to the Mass.gov website, "The mission of the Department of Transitional Assistance is to assist low-income individuals and families to meet their basic needs, increase their incomes, and improve their quality of life." 

The Bay State DTA is so committed to the cause of compassion that even death hasn't stood in the way of bureaucratic benevolence.

In Massachusetts, land of supposedly well-run healthcare, it was revealed that "a majority of sampled cases, store purchases and ATM transactions were made after the recipients' dates of death, suggesting that unauthorized persons were using public benefits."  Although unlikely, maybe the explanation is that deathbed requests to pay for post-burial refreshments were merely being honored by unsanctioned, albeit grief-stricken family members. 

The welfare agency also pointed out that there was poor security with blank Electronic Benefit (EBT) cards. In that case, not to cast aspersions on civil servants, but "blank EBT card" problems could indicate that some government employee working in the DTA, when not monitoring healthcare, "assisting low-income individuals," or taking a break, was increasing his or her own income by frequenting nearby ATMs with blank EBT cards.

So yes, incomes were being increased and the quality of life was being improved - for somebody.  Unfortunately, the folks benefiting were those "unauthorized persons" closely or loosely associated with 1,164 dearly departed individuals who received healthcare benefits from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts but didn't survive long enough to personally endorse their welfare checks.

In other words, after state run health care killed...er, I mean provided palliative end-of-life care for the soon-to-be-deceased, the state continued to meet basic needs by bestowing posthumous welfare benefits on the embalmed.

Therefore, it would be safe to say that it doesn't take a great deal of intelligence to realize that a government that sends money to dead people is not an entity we should be entrusting with our lives. 

Which is why, as America slowly embarks on its Obamacare adventure, there is a lesson to be gleaned from yet another state-level government goof, which is that if government can't get things right with dead people, what makes living people think they have a chance to survive government-run healthcare? Moreover, if a government that is already short on funds sends millions of dollars to the lifeless, why would healthcare central properly manage the funds allotted to keep the rest of us alive?

Suffice it to say, it's as if a helpless America has been placed against their will into the care of a drunken healthcare nanny with a broken pram who likes to take brisk afternoon walks around the edges of the Grand Canyon.

Yet there is some solace in all of this. After the 54% of the population that opposes Obamacare are dead and gone, their legacy will be proving that survival is only possible if government largesse is avoided at all costs. 

Jeannie hosts a blog at www.jeannie-ology.com

Fifty-four percent of Americans oppose and are suspicious of the Affordable Health Care Act for many reasons - one being that it's clearly neither healthy nor affordable. 

But what if that weren't true?  What if the whole country was anticipating Obamacare's full implementation with bated breath and every negative thing that's bound to hit the finest healthcare system in the world didn't hit - would it matter?

Probably not, because even in the best case scenario, ultimately this is government-run healthcare we're talking about here, and central administration has proven time and again that simultaneous mobility and mastication require more coordination than officialdom can handle.

A micro example of a macro problem that accurately illustrates what lies ahead when bureaucrats run the show was on full display in Massachusetts, a state that prides itself on its 2006 healthcare renovation, "An Act Providing Access to Affordable, Quality, Accountable Health Care," which has since proven to be an unmitigated disaster. 

In a 2011 article in the Wall Street Journal entitled "The Massachusetts Health-Reform Mess," John E. Calfee wrote:

Massachusetts has demonstrated that the most important effects of its reform arise not from the letter of the law but from the law's unintended and unpredictable consequences. The state is lurching from one crisis to another as it attempts to construct a system vastly different from any seen before or anything contemplated when reform was first passed. Health care in the state is evolving toward a state-run version of Medicare combined with government reorganization of the delivery of medical care.

No wonder things are in total disarray.  The Massachusetts state auditor recently "identified 1,164 cases where recipients continued to receive a total of $2.39 million in benefits from six to 27 months after they were reported to be deceased."  That's right - an audit of the Massachusetts Health and Human Services Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) turned up 1,164 dead people who were still receiving welfare benefits six months to two-plus years after their funerals. 

Why does that matter?  It matters because Americans are about to place our lives into the hands of a similar group of public employees who are guaranteed to also have difficulty keeping track of who is dead and who is alive.

With the government, the trouble always begins with good intentions.  According to the Mass.gov website, "The mission of the Department of Transitional Assistance is to assist low-income individuals and families to meet their basic needs, increase their incomes, and improve their quality of life." 

The Bay State DTA is so committed to the cause of compassion that even death hasn't stood in the way of bureaucratic benevolence.

In Massachusetts, land of supposedly well-run healthcare, it was revealed that "a majority of sampled cases, store purchases and ATM transactions were made after the recipients' dates of death, suggesting that unauthorized persons were using public benefits."  Although unlikely, maybe the explanation is that deathbed requests to pay for post-burial refreshments were merely being honored by unsanctioned, albeit grief-stricken family members. 

The welfare agency also pointed out that there was poor security with blank Electronic Benefit (EBT) cards. In that case, not to cast aspersions on civil servants, but "blank EBT card" problems could indicate that some government employee working in the DTA, when not monitoring healthcare, "assisting low-income individuals," or taking a break, was increasing his or her own income by frequenting nearby ATMs with blank EBT cards.

So yes, incomes were being increased and the quality of life was being improved - for somebody.  Unfortunately, the folks benefiting were those "unauthorized persons" closely or loosely associated with 1,164 dearly departed individuals who received healthcare benefits from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts but didn't survive long enough to personally endorse their welfare checks.

In other words, after state run health care killed...er, I mean provided palliative end-of-life care for the soon-to-be-deceased, the state continued to meet basic needs by bestowing posthumous welfare benefits on the embalmed.

Therefore, it would be safe to say that it doesn't take a great deal of intelligence to realize that a government that sends money to dead people is not an entity we should be entrusting with our lives. 

Which is why, as America slowly embarks on its Obamacare adventure, there is a lesson to be gleaned from yet another state-level government goof, which is that if government can't get things right with dead people, what makes living people think they have a chance to survive government-run healthcare? Moreover, if a government that is already short on funds sends millions of dollars to the lifeless, why would healthcare central properly manage the funds allotted to keep the rest of us alive?

Suffice it to say, it's as if a helpless America has been placed against their will into the care of a drunken healthcare nanny with a broken pram who likes to take brisk afternoon walks around the edges of the Grand Canyon.

Yet there is some solace in all of this. After the 54% of the population that opposes Obamacare are dead and gone, their legacy will be proving that survival is only possible if government largesse is avoided at all costs. 

Jeannie hosts a blog at www.jeannie-ology.com