Republican Healthcare Plans Will Impose A Cost Few Are Talking About

Digby, though, is on the case (boldface mine):

Ever since the Reagan era, Republicans have tried to convert the Medicaid program into state block grants, which is really just another way to starve it. They do not believe that the United States needs a safety net for poor people. It’s really that simple.

But Medicaid isn’t just a program that provides vital medical coverage for poor adults who don’t earn enough money to pay for health insurance, or who don’t have jobs which provide it. Over the years there have been important additions to the program

It isn’t just that Republicans don’t think the U.S. needs a safety net for poor people. They also don’t think we need a safety net for people who are unable to work, including children, the elderly and people with disabilities.

There are many stories circulating about the devastation these bills would cause for people who need extensive home care and support in order to live full lives. In many cases, families will be financially ruined. Some will face the possibility of being forced to live in institutions if these funds are cut. It’s a nightmare scenario for many of our fellow citizens.

But just because you are not disabled or don’t have a disabled family member does not mean you won’t be personally affected by these changes, even if you are well covered by insurance yourself. Most of us with older parents and grandparents may not realize that Medicare does not pay for nursing-home care — Medicaid does. Many millions of Americans spend their final days in such facilities so they can have the constant supervision and medical care they need. As the baby boom generation moves into old age, there are going to be many more of them: The population of elderly Americans is expected to double, from roughly 48 million today to 98 million by 2060.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Medicaid pays for 62 percent of nursing-home care in this country today. About 80 percent of people who live in nursing homes are over 65, which is not surprising. Roughly two-thirds are women and a large majority are white. More than half the people in nursing homes have some form of cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimer’s disease or disorders resulting from stroke. About 60 percent have more than four self-care needs.

These people are not moochers or parasites. Most of them worked for many, many years and have come to the last stage of their lives unable to work and requiring the kind of skilled care that they or their families cannot afford or deliver personally. They will not survive on their own and their families will face financial catastrophe if someone has to quit their job to take care of them.

As the Kaiser Foundation notes, today 17 million elderly and disabled people receive critical assistance from Medicaid–and this accounts for 63 percent of the funding (around $270 billion).

I realize wealthy Republicans will have the wherewithal to pay for elder care (their own and their parents)–though given their predilection for crony capitalism, why they would want to pay the full amount escapes me. But most people who voted Republican would take a significant hit, both in terms of money and time. To put it another way, that $270 billion is going to mostly come out of middle class, upper and lower, families’ pockets, not the wealthy. This isn’t just a transfer from the poor to the wealthy, but also a transfer from the middle and upper middle class to the wealthy.

I would customarily end with “suckas”, but neither I nor most of my readers deserve this shit.

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2 Responses to Republican Healthcare Plans Will Impose A Cost Few Are Talking About

  1. And soon there won’t be any ice floes to put the olds on!

  2. JDM says:

    Our system does a lot of offloading onto the general population, those without the wealth to simply (and economically) hire people to do things like your taxes (as opposed to checking and signing or editing a pre-filled return), choosing medical care with cost as a major factor, making it enormously more difficult even if you have the luxury of time to make a choice (ie., no emergency, and as opposed to simply going to who you think is good). There’s other things too, and they make a shambles of any cost saving at the government level that comes from this offloading. Elder care, child care, finding money for college (as opposed to some systems where tuition is free to the student, or well-subsidized as ours once was). When you look, for instance, at levels of taxation between France and Texas a few years back (when I last looked at the numbers Forbes provided) you see lower taxes in Texas, but higher overall costs when you pay for even a few of the things the French taxes pay for and Texas taxes don’t.

    They pay for a new Lexus and get a new Lexus. We pay for Lexus with fewer options and get a used Yugo.

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