Amendments to the American Health Care Act, the GOP bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, are set to be voted on by the House this Thursday. Among many of the proposed changes are several related to reducing federal funding towards Medicaid, the federally-backed but state-run public aid program that provides health care to millions of low-income Americans. The GOP argues that cutting funding to Medicaid is necessary in order to reduce deficits in other areas of our national budget.
About Medicaid & Long Term Care
Medicaid reductions are a dangerous prospect for many of America’s elderly. The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long Term Care estimates that 70% of people aged 65+ will need some form of long term care, whether within their own homes or within a nursing home. As of today, Medicaid spends $158 billion on long term care support services, including $55 billion towards nursing home residency and associated services. Medicaid is the largest payer of long term care, responsible for the payment of more than 50% of all nursing home costs. National Consumer Voice also says that yearly fees for a shared room in a nursing home cost nearly $83,000 in 2016. Considering the expense of nursing homes and other long term care support services, reducing funding for these programs at the expense of the disadvantaged elderly seems to be one of the cruelest ways to reduce our budget deficit.