Straight Up with Sherri

Monday, May 02, 2005

Elderly, Blind and Disabled Beware: The Target is Set!

I have been having conversations with friends, in person and via email, about a trend I am seeing that scares me. In an attempt to stay privy to news stories important to my passions, I am registered for Google News Alerts containing certain words. One of these words is "elderly."

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.)

{snip}

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.

4 Comments:

  • Medicaid is supposed to be for the indigent. Middle class people make themselves indigent by giving away their assets so that they can access medicaid without first spending their own money on their health-care. While I cannot say I wouldn't do it, it seems to me to be at least morally questionable. Sherri, I think the real question here is: Should programs for the poor be used to help the wealthy maintain their estates?

    By Blogger levi from queens, at 8:11 AM  

  • Good question Levi. I have an appoinment today for applying for disability due to being a long term diabetic with several of the complications making my life miserable at the moment. Miserable but still worth living and fighting for I might add.

    By Blogger Alnot, at 12:21 PM  

  • The original intent of the medicaid (medical assistance) for disabled people was to provide financial assistance in the often times "extra and exhorbitant" medical costs which the the disabled experience. These medical costs can cripple a family and throw them into bankrupcy AND very quickly do max out the life time CAPS on most private health policies. I work with Hearing Impaired and deaf children who rely upon high tech hearing aids and fm equipment to function in the public school system. They are first fitted with Hearing aids at age 2 and these devices change as the child grows; being re placed at least 5 times by adulthood. The cost of one of these devices is $4000..with accompanying FM costing another $2000. What household can afford this $6000 bill five times in a childs life...? They can't. Yearly audiological exams are costly likewise. Most health plans do not even cover audiological expenses...this $6000 expense could exhaust the CAPS on a family's audiological expenses very quickly. This is why the disabled are eligiblie for Medical Assistance...to protect their families from Catastrophic medical costs which would endanger the welfare of the entire family. I assist the parents of my students to apply for Medical assistance for them as it is the ONLY way they could ever get the equipment they need to compete and acheive. The Medical Assistance is not for the whole family ..it covers only the disabled person...It is periodically reviewed by the Dept of Welfare. Decisions can be appealed. I have assistecd on many appeals. There are 2 types of medical assistance...for the poor...and for the disabled. Both promote the general welfare of American Citizens.
    I had a severely hearing impaired student (Jay)who had a congenital heart defect also. He was receiveing special hearing support from me daily in public school and every spring he would get very ill due to his heart. Physical activity was limited and he was on 3-4 special medications. He was a very good student and made honor roll every report card. He could not go to a regular dentist because of heart; he needed special treatment...His mother's health policy did not cover his hearing, or his special dental.She did not hava a prescription plan. Jay was dropped from Medical Assistance in 4th grade because DPW said "his grades are good therefor he no longer has a problem" WHAT????? I fought long and hard with Public Assistance clerks trying to make them see that a REPORT CARD is not the determining measurement of a disability! I said" his heart is still broken ,,and his ears are still broken! ..his mind is not !" According to their reasonong the only way that this child could be eligible for medical benefits was if he got F's on his report card. This boy was headed to college...F's were just not an option ! HIs mother was told she should cash in her life insurance policy to cover the costs. That would leave her 3 sons with no financial protection should she up and die...See this is just the type of situation Medical Assistance for the disabled was suppose to cover. The Mom and I battled long and hard and FINALLY after 2 years of appeals before judges...he was ruled as eligible!!..Jay got his new hearing aids ( his grades dropped to B- with his out dated ones) and he got to the dentist and his medicines were paid...he got glasses too. Mom did not max out her health coverage for her other boys either....
    Medical Assistance law is a good law written in a positive spirit....It makes it possible for the disabled to to be healthy and function at their best. That makes their families, their education and their futures work to the betterment of society! This young man will continue to get good grades.( Jay is now in an Honor high school)..go to college...be a professional...and give back to society a million times what he has used. Now consider where he would be without it....struggling and unhealthy doing poorly and ending up on welfare...de pendant on public assistance all his life. I service 35 HI students on my caseload...I am one of 40 Hearing therapists in the district...One starfish at a time.

    It is a good law. The disabled in America are terrified that their medical assistance will be cut off...or eliminated. And mark my words, if you think there are too many "right to die "cases now..just wait till medical assistance is eliminated. Thousands and thousands of families will have to face financial bankrupcy in order to care for their disabled loved ones...or turn to euthanasia. To cut medical assistance for the disabled would be disasterous for our country. It would cripple our belief in the right to life...it would fatten the right to die bleechers. It would be time for civil disobedience; in droves.

    By Anonymous JoMarley, at 3:31 PM  

  • Isn't it nice when the LORD opens your eyes to things? When we can read the news and see the trends and read between the lines? I noticed this when Terri was fighting her last battle. After they removed the G-tube for the last time, when it was apparent short of a Miracle ( as in Jesus coming back) that We lost this fight, I noticed the talk about Social Security, and medicare...yada yada ,yada, suddenly Terris fight wasn't about a life anymore,it wasn't a left right thing either it was a money thing. The arguement shifted to Money, As in who is gonna pay for her long term care? I started noticing it on the chatboards, then in the news. I seen the trend, esp. after Terri Died, The talk of Soc. Sec. stopped. It got quiet. The gov't and the media who are interchangeable ( govt own words.."the truth is what we say it is, reality changes as we want it to")cleverly placed the tag of money and long term care to an issue of euthanasia, in essence, they used Terris death to brain wash the masses, into accepting euthanasia. Coupled with the futile care bills, more and more people are willing to cull the herds and masses, to secure their own retiremnet futures. Too bad, they will be facing that same sickle of death themselves one day.

    By Blogger KC, at 9:32 PM  

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