Mr. Baron:

In your last column, you were advising a couple how to get on Medicaid? This couple had sold their farm to their son. What happened to the money? Why didn’t they buy nursing home insurance with it? How much did taxpayers already subsidize the farm operation when they were farming? I would suggest this couple, their children and you should be ashamed of themselves.

– Tommy Stiles, Henning, MN

Dear Mr. Stiles:

When people write to me and ask me what are the rules of Medicaid, I tell them what the rules are. Nothing more and nothing less. It’s like when you go to your CPA for your taxes and he tells you about dependent deductions, home interest deductions, etc. Or do you prefer to pay the full amount and not take any deductions as the law allows? Are you ashamed for following the law?

I explained to them what the law allows, as per Medicaid guidelines and as the laws are written to this point in time. It’s not up to me to judge other people’s actions. I merely explain the rules. I don’t advocate anything.

Second, when the son bought the place, he bought it on a contract for deed. Most people – in lieu of receiving rent – sell their farms to their children. However, without rent, the obvious answer to your question of “what are they doing with the money?” is simple – they are living on it. Like many retirement assets, farms are sold to provide income to the parents and provide equity to the next generation.

Why didn’t they buy long-term care insurance? Maybe they did and found the one hundred-dollar per day policy is either one half to one-third of what they’ll need when they need care. Costs are, on average, just over two hundred dollars per day and as high as four hundred per day for Alzheimer’s, dementia and critical care. Unless everyone – including you – has this amount of coverage, no one throws stones.

Maybe they waited too long, because most people don’t buy insurance until they feel the need. In long-term care insurance, if you wait until you feel you need it, you normally can’t get it any longer. Once you become infirm, you can’t buy it any longer.

One in 335 houses catch fire each year, one in 52 cars are involved in an accident, yet one in 1.4 people over age 65 will need long-term care before they die. People need to start buying long-term care insurance when they are in their fifties with an inflation rider added on.

“How much did taxpayers subsidize this family farm?” you ask. You, and everyone else, who complains about subsidies needs to understand one thing. Subsidies are not for farmers – they are for any people who buy food in this country.

Other countries, and the people therein – without subsidies – average about twenty-five percent of their income going to pay for their daily food. In our country, we average between five and twelve percent. So, if the government decides, in order to keep this country happy about what they pay for food, that they should help out small individual food growers during difficult times, rather than having large corporations take over, do you suppose they have a reason for it?

Do you really think large corporations with a labor force, minimum wages, mandatory employee health care costs, and a board of directors would make your food at the same price as these idiots are willing to do without any of these things?

The small American farmer is the only reason you’re not spending twenty-five percent of your income on food – and yes, that’s largely due the fact they receive help when times are tough – a program that goes back to the Great Depression.

The old saying “Don’t complain about farmers with your mouth full” certainly applies here as you truly do not understand the economics of farming and our government’s support of individual family farms and why it’s so vital for our country to keep these individuals going.

The simple reason is no one else will do it that cheap!