Rand Paul: Medicaid health coverage for the poor has turned into welfare, is rife with abuse

By Bruce Schreiner, AP
Monday, October 4, 2010

Rand Paul: Medicaid has turned into welfare

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul says Medicaid has turned into “intergenerational welfare,” saying coverage has spread beyond those truly in need.

The tea party favorite, who is running against Democrat Jack Conway, spoke to a Kentucky business group Monday.

When asked about Medicaid, Paul said the health coverage should be temporary until people can help themselves. But he acknowledged some need long-term assistance.

Paul says too many people are receiving the insurance who don’t really need it, noting half the state’s births are covered by it.

Kentucky has about 57,000 births per year, and Medicaid covers about half of them, according to Gwenda Bond, a spokeswoman for the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

About 800,000 people are covered under Medicaid in the state.

The Associated Press reported in June that Paul, an eye doctor from Bowling Green, had since 2005 received slightly more than $130,000 in Medicaid funds. That’s about one-third of the amount he billed the program, according to the Kentucky cabinet that administers the program.

Paul’s campaign has said that about half of Paul’s medical income has come from Medicare and Medicaid payments — which it says is in line with the average for eye doctors around the country.

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