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Romney's lean, mean Medicaid plans for nursing home residents

As the presidential campaign unfolds, the differences in approaches to Medicare by President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney have taken center stage. But what is getting far less scrutiny: Romney's plans for Medicaid. He would convert the health care program for the poor, disabled and elderly into a block grant to the states and sharply reduce funding over time. Middle-class Americans should be especially wary, since it's Medicaid, not Medicare, that covers nursing home care for aged and infirm parents and grandparents. Without Medicaid's safety net, it isn't clear what those Americans would do, and Romney doesn't have any good answers.

It's an understandable confusion. People think that since Medicare covers medical services for people over 65, it also pays for nursing home care for elderly people. Medicaid is thought of as a poverty program that provides medical coverage to poor families. But Medicaid is the program that provides long-term care to the elderly and disabled, which accounts for 31 percent of the program's $400 billion annual federal and state spending. Most of the nation's 1.8 million nursing home residents, including more than 77,000 Floridians, rely on Medicaid to pay their bills.

Medicaid's nursing home beneficiaries are not necessarily poor people. During their working years they may have lived productive middle-class lives until becoming infirm and quickly exhausting their assets. No matter how assiduously families save for retirement, there aren't many who could long afford the steep costs of a residential nursing home that can run an average of $80,000 a year. Without Medicaid's essential safety net, members of this vulnerable population would be on their own or might be forced to live with relatives ill equipped to care for their intensive needs.

There is an irony to Romney running mate Paul Ryan's applause line at the Republican National Convention last month that "the truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves." It was Ryan who authored the plan to convert Medicaid from a strong federal-state entitlement to a block grant program to the states that Romney has incorporated into his campaign. The plan, passed as a budget blueprint by the Republican-controlled House, would gut Medicaid's safety net and focus instead on cutting funds. The nonprofit Center for Budget and Policy Priorities says Medicaid funding would decline by one-third by 2022 under Ryan's plan.

To make up the difference, states that are already struggling under Medicaid's rising costs would have to add substantial state money to the program or — more likely — utilize the new flexibility Romney promises to pare back eligibility, reimbursements and enrollment. Estimates are that states would drop between 14 million and 27 million people from Medicaid by 2021, according to the Urban Institute. In addition, Romney's promise to repeal President Barack Obama's health care reform law would impact Medicaid by eliminating expanded coverage of home and community-based services that help seniors live at home. This fits the you-are-on-your-own agenda of the Republican presidential ticket far more neatly than Ryan's rhetoric about caring for those who can't care for themselves.

Medicaid is a lifeline for poor children and families but also for the nation's middle class whose elderly and disabled loved ones rely on it for long-term care. The Romney/Ryan plan would decimate the program, and that should be on every voter's mind come November.

10 Responses
Avatar universal
He's just going to gas the old people.  Everyone knows that.
206807 tn?1331939784
And have their Bodies processed into into Hamburger Meat to feed the Poor. What a Genius.
377493 tn?1356505749
Honestly, they should do what we do in Canada....the death squads just float them out on icebergs....far more humane....
377493 tn?1356505749
Oh, wait a minute...death squads are the Liberal agenda.  I get soo confused.  Either way...Romney or Obama, sounds like the elderly and the sick don't really stand much of a chance...sigh.
206807 tn?1331939784
I was wrong. Under Romney’s plan, they are going to use the Ground Meat to Fatten up the Elderly before gassing them. Talk about Recycling. I’m more impressed with Romney everyday.

Avatar universal
Stop It! "This is hard!" If you think you can do better than get in the ring!
206807 tn?1331939784
377493 tn?1356505749
Do you all remember that movie "Run Logan Run" ( I think that what was it was called).  It was based on the future, and at a certain age you were put to death as you were no longer considered useful to society.  Think both parties are in this together?  Hmmmm......
649848 tn?1534637300
Never watched it, but it was "Logan's Run".


"In the world of 2116, a person's maximum age is strictly legislated: twenty one years, to the day. When people reach this Lastday they report to a Sleepshop in which they are willingly executed. A person's age is revealed by their palm flower crystal embedded in the palm of their right hand that changes color every seven years, yellow (age 0-6), then blue (age 7-13), then red (age 14-20), then turns black at 21.  

Runners are those who refuse to report to a Sleepshop and attempt to avoid their fate by escaping to Sanctuary."

I guess most of us, here on CE would be considered "runners". I'll never live to 2116, so not an issue for me......  I only want to get back what I paid for during my working years, which is SS, health care and Medicaid when I run out of money......... call me a "freeloader" or consider it an "entitlement" if you will, but I paid for these things over my working years, so I really AM entitled to get it back, right?
1530342 tn?1405020090
" I only want to get back what I paid for during my working years, which is SS, health care and Medicaid when I run out of money......... call me a "freeloader" or consider it an "entitlement" if you will, but I paid for these things over my working years, so I really AM entitled to get it back, right? "

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