Much of the nation went to the polls on Tuesday to cast a vote in the myriad of elections scattered across the country. Of course, the most high-profile contest was the Presidential election; it was hard to watch television, walk down the street, or check you social media status without being reminded of the election in the last few months. All of that ended this week with U.S. President Barack Obama reelected for a second term, to serve for the next four years until 2016.
Some might hope that with the election over, the political talk will end. However, in reality, the election is just the beginning, and the administration (along with the public) will hopefully be engaging in long discussions in the coming months and years about the best way to help solve the various problems and challenges that lay before us. Some of those issues relate directly to the health, well-being, and care of Americans seniors.
Many might naturally be wondering what the President’s re-election means for those who need long-term care, like nursing home residents. Helpful, the Consumer Voice–one of the nation’s leading advocacy groups for seniors–sent an email to supporters after the election discussing a few of the major impacts of the President’s re-election. Of course, the candidates had different ideas for how they would handle certain issue which impact seniors and their families. And while we do not know for sure how these things will shake up in the coming months once dragged through the political process, we can make some assumptions based on what the President has done in the place and said he plans to do in the future.
For one thing, the most high-profile aspect of the re-election is that most details of The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) will likely remain law. Governor Romney had promised to try to repeal this on “Day One,” but that won’t be happening now.
The same rings true for the Elder Justice Act. The important measure may have been cut back or eliminated if certain officials have been brought to office who had different ideas about its use. With the President’s re-election, this measure will likely remain law and, hopefully, be fully implemented.
The Consumer Voice also suggested that with the President’s re-election, it is likely that more options will be on the table for home health care. That is because programs like the Community First Choice Option and Medicaid’s HCBS State Plan Option will be preserved and alter so that they can best serve consumers.
Beyond those specific programmatic details, the general direction of President Obama’s budget decisions will likely impact some very important senior care issues. Yet, it is impossible to say with certainty what those changes might be, because the President does not have sole control of these decisions. The President will likely push for full funding of the Elder Justice Act, but he will be required to work with a U.S. House of Representatives (as before) that is made up of members of the opposing party.
Also, it would be remiss not to mention that, no matter who was elected, some tough budgetary decisions might need to be made. We continue to operate on an annual budget deficit, year after year. Both candidates for President expressed the reality that things will have to change so that we are not in the red every year. However, changing things will require both spending cuts and revenue increases. Both candidates agree in theory, though, in general President Obama was more comforable with an even balance between speding cuts and increases while Governor Romeny’s plan more heavily emphasized cuts. All told, the President’s re-election might mean more reasonable cuts, but seniors and their loved ones should still be prepared for some of these changes in the coming months and years.
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