HOW COULD MEDICAID CUTS AFFECT SENIOR CITIZENS?
I recently came across an article on nytimes.com written by Jordan Rau. The article discusses the possibility of Medicaid cuts and how these possible cuts could affect senior citizens.
The article contained many jaw dropping facts: more than 70 million people are enrolled in Medicaid; 64% of the Americans in nursing homes depend on Medicaid; long-term services - such as nursing homes account for 42% of all Medicaid spending, Alaska, Mississippi, and West Virginia had Medicaid as the primary pater for three-quarters or more of nursing home residents.
The current House health bill targets nursing home coverage directly by requiring every state to count home equity above $560,000 in determining Medicaid eligibility. This is currently the standard where I practice in Texas; however, as Jordan points out, this will make eligibility rules tougher in the state with the most expensive real estate markets i.e. California and New York.
Long-term care is not something that most people factor into their retirement plan. Most Americans are saving so that they can pay their bills and keep the standard of living they enjoy now. Most people do not think about nursing home care. And what if only one spouse needs the care? Then the couples monthly expenses more than double - most families cannot afford this - and that is where Medicaid helps out. The average cost of nursing home care is $170 a day - that's over $5,000 per month.
Major cuts to the Medicaid program would lead to nursing homes cutting staff, supplies, and amenities. Cuts to these aspects of the nursing home would lead to a lower quality of care and ultimately a lower quality of life for our loved ones.
As I've stated in other posts regarding the new healthcare bill - this is not a political post. I am not trying to say that one side is right. All I'm writing about are the effects the proposed bill could have and how it impacts my practice.