When it comes to your money, the government has a say in how it’s used, according to MIT Professor Andrea Campbell.

Campbell, who visited Del Mar College for Constitution Day Sept. 17, discussed taxes, poverty, health care and more as part of her talk on “The Constitution and You: How Federalism Affects Americans’ Everyday Lives.”

Much of the discussion centered around Medicaid.

Medicaid is not national but it is jointly run by the government and the states. It provides health insurance for the long-term care for the permanently disabled. In addition to providing care for the disabled and low-income individuals, it also covers many pregnant women and children.

In Texas, lower income parents have to have an income that is 17% below the poverty level to be covered with Medicaid, or about $36,000 a year, said Campbell, an Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of political science. 

Some in the audience wondered if it’s fair for the state to decide who is eligible for Medicaid and how you should spend your money.

“Do you think Medicaid will be nonexistent for the next generations?” a Del Mar student asked. 

Campbell said changes are needed for it to survive.

“Medicaid has a trust fund that will be spent down till 2032 or so unless Congress makes some changes,” Campbell said. “That doesn’t mean it’s going to go away in 2032 it just means the income payroll taxes are the only revenue to pay for the benefits.”

One point Campbell wanted to stress is that while it may be your money, how it’s spent isn’t always up to you.

“The government can sometimes tell you how to spend your own money,” she said.

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