The Threat to Home Care in America
In America, Medicaid is a public medical welfare program run by the government that helps those living in poverty afford the care they need.
While providing home care services is not a required part of Medicaid, a large proportion of the programmes spending does end up going on home care, which has helped thousands of elderly Americans remain independent from the comfort of their own home.
However, with the current government looking to drastically change the current healthcare system in the country, many fear cuts to the system could end up greatly reducing the overall amount of money Medicaid receives in each state.
Jim Mcllroy is but one of the thousands of older Americans that rely on Medicare for support.
Ten years ago, Mr Mcllory was the victim of a motorcycle accident that left him paralysed from the waist down. After some time in a nursing home, he was able to return home and receive support thanks to Medicare.
The program supplied Mr Mcllory with a wheelchair and some design changes to his kitchen that allows him to maintain his independence by still being able to prepare meals and wash up.
The arrangement also benefits Medicaid too, as these costs are estimated to be roughly two-thirds of what it would cost if Mr Mcllory lived in a nursing home instead.
Thousands of American like Jim Mcllory rely on the services of Medicaid, yet with cuts looming on the horizon, many fear for the potentially damaging effects in could have on home care.
While the millions of Americans who use Medicaid are worried, many high-ranking politicians are also worried about what will happen if cuts to Medicaid end up being passed by the government.
Maine’s Senator Susan Collins is but one of the many politicians who has voiced their concerns. Alongside being a Senator, Ms Collins also chairs the meetings of the Senate Select Committee on Ageing; a committee that promotes discussion and debate surrounding ageing Americans.
“… I am deeply concerned with proposals that would significantly cut Medicaid, forcing governors and state legislators to confront difficult budget choices, including how to maintain these critical, but optional, services,” said Senator Collins.
An ever-growing demand
These worries also come at a time when Medicaid is seeing an ever-increasing demand. In Maryland, for example, supply is currently unable to meet demand as 20,000 people were left on a waiting list for support last month.
Among supply and demand problems, some advocates, such as deputy executive director of the National Association of States United for Ageing and Disabilities, Camilee Dobson, also note the potential problems that can arise with home care and Medicaid that do not occur with other care avenues such as respite care and residential care.
“It’s all well and good to discharge people from the hospital with a list of medications to take, but if they go home to a refrigerator that doesn’t work so that they can’t store their medications or have no way to get to their appointments, all of that great medical intervention goes for naught,” Ms Dobson said.
Despite the potential pros and cons, many elderly Americans now wait with bated breath for what comes next for their nation’s healthcare.