There are numerous people in the country who believe politics are truly inspired by large money donors. Some of these donors are individuals, and some are corporate entities or special interest groups that use lobbyists. Money influences many facets of legislation and in Louisiana, there are those who argue that lobbies for nursing homes throughout the state were successful in quashing legislation that would have made it easier, and even possible, for more elderly residents to remain at home during the final years of their life, utilizing the rich resources of home health care services.
According to The Advocate in the op-ed piece, Do the right thing, Gov. Edwards; divert money toward Louisiana home health care, written by Dan Fagan:
“The worst example of this insidiousness reared its ugly head this past week with the failure of Senate Bill 357. Sponsored by state Sen. Conrad Appel, R-Metairie, the bill would have made it possible for more of the elderly to spend their final days cared for in their own home instead of a nursing home. The powerful nursing home lobby didn’t like that idea one bit. The bill never made it out of committee.
Nursing home rates have risen a dramatic 54 percent over the last decade. Care in nursing homes costs the state $47,331 per resident per year compared with between $13,758 and $33,117 a year for home care. Nursing homes receive 77 cents of every Medicaid dollar Louisiana spends on care for the elderly and the physically disabled, leaving the remaining 23 cents for home-based care. Home-based care is cheaper and more popular.”
The cost of nursing home care alone is an eye-opener, and it causes many families to wonder if there could possibly be any other option. The AARP noted that 90 percent of aging seniors in the state would prefer to be cared for in their home, rather than in an institutionalized system. Right now there are over 28,000 seniors waiting for home care support.
The Louisiana Nursing Home Association reportedly spent $100,000 on TV ads in Baton Rouge, boasting about the benefits of nursing home care in an apparent effort to derail the proposed legislation. The industry also reportedly spent more than $6 million supporting various campaigns, all in an alleged effort to influence legislation and make it more likely seniors throughout the state would have few other options than to choose nursing home care, especially if they rely on Medicare and Medicaid for financial assistance.
Home care is a far more affordable option, and while the industry is being pressed on all sides with increased regulation, increased wage and benefits demands, and more, it’s also being pressed in states like Louisiana by powerful interest groups intent on their own desires rather than what may be best for the seniors for whom they care.
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