Who Cares about low tech Snail Mail anymore? Almost everyone I've talked to tosses their mail in the circular file or just stacks it up for later recycling. It's human nature. If it isn't a bill, see ya later. We're also too busy trying clear out or tame our exploding emails accounts.
Republicans know this and are counting on it to purge voter rolls, deny food stamps and drop Medicaid coverage by sending out cards and letters through the mail. Or Republicans never caught on to technology and the public move from paper to online billing and communications. But that can't be it because all responses have to be done online, even if they don't have a computer. It's a con job either way, and it's spreading.
Medicaid Work Requirements sent by Letter: Let's focus on Medicaid. Human nature says that mail gets thrown out, even those nagging notices requiring residents to report work to the state. Republicans are counting on it, and the research bears it out. Excerpt from my WaPo email:
1. As of last month, 5,426 people in Arkansas had not reported their status for June and July. Most of the correspondence about the looming reporting requirements were sent by regular mail, and there was no further outreach ... Some recipients may not have been able to properly read the letter or they could have limited access to a computer or the Internet because all the reporting has to be done online.
2. There were 12,722 who "did not satisfy reporting requirements," according to state data. The great majority will simply lose coverage because complexity of the policy is difficult to understand.
3. Writing in Health Affairs this week, researcher Jessica Greene, a professor of health policy at Baruch College, shared exchanges she had in Arkansas: Two-thirds of the Medicaid recipients I interviewed had not heard anything about the new work requirement.“First time I’ve ever heard anything [about it],” a 31-year-old man, who had started a vocational training program the day we spoke, said. “You’d think it’d be on the news or something. I ain’t seen it on the news, and I watch Channel 8 news every night.”4. Green wrote that half of the people she spoke to should have received the letter from Arkansas's Department of Health. Of that group, five weren't sure if they received a letter:
Others echoed his surprise: “I’ve never even heard of it” and “I can’t believe I ain’t heard something about it on the news.”When asked about receiving a DHS letter, a 42-year-old woman said, “I don’t know, I’m going to have to check and make sure [I didn’t receive the letter], because I need my Medicaid card for my sugar pill and my blood pressure pills.”
A 46-year-old man, who had recently completed an inpatient drug treatment program, kicking a multi-decade drug addiction, wasn’t sure either. “I may have [received the letter]…I’m horrible about opening mail….I probably throw’d it away.”
Again, it's simply human nature to put off or throw out mail you first perceive as unimportant. Personally, I automatically look for my utility bills and that's it. Some mail looks like it's from the government but isn't.
As for the people interviewed above...
While the three others did not believe they received the letter, they were all exempt by either working and/or having children in the home, but likely needed to report their hours and exemptions in the portal to maintain Medicaid coverage.The sad thing is, it will take the loss of life-saving coverage in Arkansas to show how flawed this nasty GOP condition for health care coverage is before it's tossed out in the courts.
A final note: While Republicans cut rules, regulations, and reporting for businesses, they're increasing the paperwork and complexity of social services for the very people they're hired to serve. It would be nice if Democrats started to point this out.