Regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum, there is no denying that Medicaid is the by far the biggest funding source for care of those in U.S. nursing homes. It supports approximately three-fifths of the residents who receive care at nursing home facilities. A health care bill being weighed by lawmakers would enact significant cuts to the Medicaid program, and there is concern, as noted in a recent Op-Ed in The New York Times, that this could gut benefits for nursing home residents, which could mean their level of care could take a hit.
In fact, there is concern many nursing homes, without that steady income, would be forced to shutter their doors, leaving elderly residents high-and-dry.
The American Health Care Act (passed by the House but later scuttled) would reduce Medicaid funding by $834 billion. Meanwhile, the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act, would still slash Medicaid funding by $772 billion by 2026. This is especially troubling considering people are living longer lives than every, with many requiring a high level of care in their last years. Almost 42 percent of nursing home patients are over the age of 85, but there are also a significant number of patients whose home-and-community-based care is covered by Medicaid as well. Because Medicaid payments for assisted living facilities has been frozen at $49 daily since 2010, many people are unable to access this option, even if they may be better-served by this than 24-7 care. The potential for these cuts would make both options much less attainable. Continue reading →