The American Health Care Act, with it's proposed cuts to Medicaid, could have a major impact on elderly people's ability to get much-needed care.
According to an article from Forbes, Medicaid has a wider reach than many people believe. While it is often seen as an insurance program for low-income individuals, the reality is that more than 2 million elderly people rely on this program for help covering the high cost of long-term care. It is not just poor people receiving Medicaid. Many members of the middle class get help through this program.
Long-Term Care Is Expensive
As of 2016, the median cost of a nursing home stay was more than $82,000 annually. The median cost of 44 hours of weekly support from a home health aide was more than $46,000 annually. With those numbers in mind, it is easy to understand how these expenses can be a crunch even for people who earned a good income during their working days and have some savings.
Unfortunately, according to the article, the proposed cuts could lead to some serious issues. Eligibility requirements to get Medicaid could narrow, meaning that people who could truly benefit from Medicaid may not be able to get it. The cuts could also lead to reduced payment to the providers, which means less money for the workers who are already receiving a fairly low wage but do so much to take care of elderly people. Incidentally, the article points out that these changes would take full effect around the time that Baby Boomers will likely be in need of in-home care or nursing home help.
The American Health Care Act has been passed by the House of Representatives and the future of Medicaid is currently in the hands of the Senate.