Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Point of View; Planned Cuts Will Hit Seniors Hard

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Point of View; Planned Cuts Will Hit Seniors Hard

Article excerpt

Byline: Linda Levin

Much of the country is focused on the debate around repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

However, what hasn't received nearly as much attention is that the U.S. House also passed deep cuts to the federal-state Medicaid program as part of the Affordable Care Act repeal bill, despite that having nothing to do with repealing or replacing it.

The Senate is considering deep Medicaid cuts that will jeopardize critical care for older adults and directly affect their caregivers. If the Senate adopts - in part or in full - the House-passed changes to Medicaid, this could have devastating consequences for seniors and families in every state.

Most Medicaid spending provides services and supports to help people with disabilities and older adults.

For older adults and caregivers, Medicaid is the country's only guaranteed provider or the critical long-term care services that most of us will need as we age. Nearly two-thirds of long-term care provided in nursing homes is paid for by Medicaid.

FAMILIES WILL BE OVERWHELMED

With nursing homes averaging nearly $90,000 per year, without Medicaid, millions of older adults and families would be financially overwhelmed if these services were limited or no longer available. Over 90 percent of seniors say they would rather age at home and in their communities where care is often less expensive and more effective.

This is also where Medicaid comes in and why cuts to the program could be especially harmful to older adults who want to age with independence and dignity at home and in the community for as long as possible.

For over 30 years, states have increasingly moved toward providing "waiver" services that allow Medicaid-eligible seniors to get the care that they need in their homes instead of in institutions.

These services, which are often a fraction of the cost of nursing home care, can include, but are not limited to, in-home help with bathing, dressing, meal preparation and other activities of daily life. …

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