Even though the GOP’s proposed health care bill to replace the Affordable Care Act was withdrawn, it raised a great deal of concern for some who rely on support from the federal government for in home care. One of the major concerns for Californians with regard to this prospective replacement health care bill is that it could limit the amount of time (number of days) seniors can get government supported in home care services.
As reported by Stephanie O’Neill in the news article, What Happens to Elder Care [w]ith Proposed Caps to Medi-Cal?, published by KQED News:
For Misa, and for the tens of thousands of low-income Californians who need ongoing long-term services and support, there is one source of aid: the joint federal-state Medicaid program, known here in the Golden State as Medi-Cal. Medicaid covers nursing home care if seniors can’t pay for it themselves.
“Most people, when they think about Medicaid, they think of it as sort of a low-income, working population welfare health care program,” says Matt Salo, executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors. “But what really comes as a big surprise to almost everybody is that that’s not where Medicaid spends most of its dollars.”
Advocates for low income families claim that these limits would make it impossible for them to have long-term care for their elderly and disabled loved ones. However, there are others who claim setting limits is how most other government agencies operate.
Oren Cass, who is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, states that, “It just forces states to work within the budget constraints of a fixed amount of federal money, which, by the way, is how every other part of our federal government already works.”
At issue is more likely confusion and uncertainty about how proposed changes to the way the system works could affect those who need these services. Instead of having no limit on federal reimbursements or spending for in home care and other support services, the states will have to operate these programs within fixed budgets.
That may lead to more accountability and changes that some claim are long overdue within a system that has been notoriously lax in oversight, which has led to extensive fraud and abuse within the system itself.
One thing is certain, however, and that is the uncertainty many people feel about how a change to the nation’s health care law could impact those who need these services and who may not have the money to pay for it themselves.
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