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Proposed Medicaid Cuts Would Affect Nursing Home Care

As a part of the effort to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Republicans have proposed major cuts to Medicaid that could significantly affect access to nursing home care. The proposal would cap the amount that the federal government pays to states per Medicaid enrollee to 2016 levels.

The end of Medicaid as we know it?

Medicaid is a federal program that provides health coverage for low-income people, the elderly and the disabled. While people in nursing homes represent a small percentage of the people on Medicaid, they incur higher costs than people using Medicaid for other reasons. According to a recent article in The New York Times, these proposed cuts to Medicaid could mean that elderly people in nursing homes and their families would be forced to absorb more of the cost of care. In many cases, this could mean that elders in nursing home care simply wouldn't be able to afford it, and would have to move out.

Potential effects of Medicaid cuts

The Republican proposal, an effort to contain costs, would make it more difficult for people to qualify for Medicaid. Individual states, to make the best use of the more limited funds, could:

  • Impose stricter time limits for nursing home care
  • Impose stricter limits on the type of care available in nursing homes
  • Require that people be more disabled to qualify for Medicaid

Individual nursing homes, similarly, could be forced to accept fewer residents in the face of these cuts.

Navigating potential budget cuts

While rising Medicaid costs undoubtedly present a challenge to the government budget, the proposed Medicaid cuts would also present a significant financial challenge to families who may have to figure out another way to provide care for vulnerable elders. If you or a family member is in need or may soon be in need of nursing home care, it can help to discuss your situation with an elder law attorney who can provide you with informed guidance and advice to help you meet your family's needs.

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