Now that the Republican effort the repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act seems stalled, it’s time for legislators to regroup and plan their next strategy. Democrats have been vocal about opposition to any such efforts, claiming it is only going to hurt the sick, poor, and elderly. One such claim that various news agencies have been touting recently is the risk of further Medicaid cuts to in home care services.
In order for the Affordable Care Act to be ‘affordable,’ at least for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the short run, a 14 percent cut for home care reimbursements was passed by the same Democratically controlled Congress that pushed through the ACA. At that time there were certainly advocates warning about the impact these cuts would have on those in need, including the elderly and disabled, but the majority of attention was focused on the accolades of passing legislation no one was allowed to read first.
USA Today reports in the blog, Tighter Medicaid budgets threaten home care, written by Susan Jaffe for Kaiser Health News:
“That’s why I am deeply concerned with proposals that would significantly cut Medicaid, forcing governors and state legislators to confront difficult budget choices, including how to maintain these critical, but optional, services,” said Collins, one of three Republicans whose votes early Friday helped defeat the Senate’s “skinny repeal” measure that would have scuttled the Affordable Care Act.
Though home services are not a required part of Medicaid, they represent a large share of Medicaid spending. Medicaid expenses for long-term care consumed a third of the Medicaid budget nationwide in 2015, and more than half of that amount went to optional home-based care, according to a government report. Nursing homes got the rest.”
Medicaid cuts to home care reimbursement is nothing new and it’s being hit not just at the federal level, but also the state level. As states grapple with budget constraints and limitations, some are turning to home care as a sector from which to gain some revenue for other programs, and these cuts will have further repercussions throughout the industry.
The 14 percent cut at the federal level was filtered in over several years, being completed this past January, 2017, but the long-term impact has yet to be determined. It’s not about ‘cuts to Medicaid’ but ‘further cuts,’ and regardless of political affiliation, both Democrats and Republicans alike will be feeling the effects as they age and have a need for in home care support.
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