Elderly, Blind and Disabled Beware: The Target is Set!
I have been alarmed at the stories I am finding. There have been MANY stories outlining the cost of caring for the elderly and handicapped. These articles give figures showing how these groups make up a small part of the population, and yet gobble up all the money. There have also been stories "alarming" us that the elderly population is growing with phrases like "about to explode."
As if these are things we don't know? What, we've never sat through a conversation with an elderly person that lists all the medicines they have to take? We think those pill cases with the days of the week printed on them are BIG MARKET items for the teens? Did some space ship land in the middle of the country and just UNLOAD MILLIONS OF ELDERLY PEOPLE? We've never heard the term "baby boom?" Give me a break! We know! We do know! The articles are written in a way as to attack the evil government for cuts- but not lately. Lately it sends this message, but the tone has been more of a flashing red alert about $$$$$$$. Here is one article that actually ties all of this together in ONE piece:
Band-Aid not enough
Medicaid won't be fixed without addressing the greatly expanded need for long-term care
One of the most contentious issues between the states and Washington involves the huge impact Medicaid spending is having on state budgets.
With the annual cost of the health care program for the poor and disabled skyrocketing, Medicaid has begun to challenge elementary and secondary education as the most costly wedge of the state spending pie. At the same time the Bush administration has told Congress it wants to reduce federal spending on Medicaid by as much as $40 billion over the next decade. (Medicaid is jointly funded by the states and the federal government.)
But largely left out of the debate has been the most ominous Medicaid trend line of them all the issue of long-term care.
Elderly, blind and disabled people represent roughly a quarter of the nation's 50 million Medicaid patients, yet they account for 71 percent of the program's costs. The National Governors Association reports that people with disabilities are the fastest-growing Medicaid eligibility group. Over the next 30 years, the number of Americans aged 65 and older and the proportion of those individuals 85 and older is expected to double.
Medicaid, not Medicare, will pick up most of the long-term care services of many of these patients. In order to keep Medicaid sustainable for the basic services it provides for pregnant women and children and other poor and uninsured Americans, the nation will need to come to grips with what role government and private individuals should play in ensuring long-term care.
Among other things, some of the nation's governors want Medicaid to take aim at the common practice of allowing elderly nursing home patients to give away their assets so that Medicaid will pick up their bills. That's why Congress needs to seriously consider incentives for making the purchase of long-term care insurance more affordable.
GET IT? So if you are 65 and older, and have paid into this program all of your working life, then how dare you expect to have it used for YOUR OWN medical expenses? I have been careful not to say this before, but I have had enough. No wonder some people don't want to talk about their ideas to save social security. We know it was intended for people who were never expected to actually live long enough to get any of it.
Now- take the debate for universal health care, euthanasia, the way terminal care is switched mid-conversation with "long-term care" (this is the disabled, and let's face it, a diabetic is long-term care), living wills, and the constant march towards COURTS and DOCTORS now making the decisions to deny medical treatment (nothing to do with insurance companies lobbying here, I'm SURE!)
Did anyone else notice the line about this money being needed for "pregnant women"? Does anyone else find it the least bit odd that it uses this term instead of prenatal care? How many of those Medicaid dollars going to the care of elderly could be going towards abortions? Talk about a double wammy! Deny medical care to this one, viola- natural death with dignity, and shift the money over here for "reproductive rights" and viola- another dead body.
I know, I know- but Sherri, who's supposed to pay for all this? I don't know- why not ask Porker of the Month, Senator Daniel Inouye.
Some other tax dollar funding to note:
- The state of Alabama received $1.7 million for the International Fertilizer Center
- Alaska Republican Sen. Ted Stevens added $646 million for his state, which equates to $985 per capita.
- Senator Byrd took $399 million back to West Virginia for hometown projects.