RE Medicaide as universal health care for the elderly
Yeah, it IS universal health care for the elderly, but there is a HUGE "BUT"
You have to have NO real assets
Assuming you have a spouce living in the community (aka also not in some form of long term care), YOU are allowed $50 in assets, your IRAs (but any withdrawls from the IRA go directly to the Gov't to pay out your bills), and you are allowed to keep your home - but they will put a lean on it. Your spouce is allowed to keep $4000, and is allowed an income of something like $16K/year
IF your spouce enters long term care and is not expected to return home, then they are also allowed $50 only, IRAs stay the same, but they take the house and all other assets
Have one parent with Alzhimers and another with terminal cancer, and you too will get to talk with lawyers all about this..
The BIG trick is to transfer the house to a trust and or actually give it to a child BEFORE you need the long term care - right now, the lookback is 5 years
OH - and those numbers? They have to be in place by the first of the month of the month you first need Medicaid - Medicare will cover the first 100 days of your treatment
Do yourself a favor - in early middle age, sign up for "Long term care" insurance - cheap then - and takes care of most of this. A nursing home will run you at least $200/day, and often $400/day