Will Health Care Reform Include Elder Care?

As America’s elderly population continues to explode (it will double by 2030), an important question that has received little attention in the national healthcare debate is how the U.S. will be able to deal with 78 million aging baby boomers. Those of us who practice elder abuse and neglect law regularly see the costs associated with long term care, and let me tell you, it ain’t cheap.

For many nursing home residents the story goes like this: there is an event that causes them to be hospitalized, whether it’s an injury such as a fractured hip, or an illness. It is determined that after the hospitalization, nursing home rehabilitation is in order. The hospitalization and the first 100 days of nursing home care will generally be covered by Medicare. When the 100 days is up, and the person is determined to be too frail to return home, the financial obligation falls upon the resident, or his or her family. At $5,000 – $10,000 per month, this can quickly be financially devastating. If there is no money, or the resident’s spends it all in the first months of care, they are typically qualified for Medi-Cal, and the taxpayers foot the rest of the bill, even if the patient spends the next five years in the nursing home.

This article at NewAmericanMedia.org addresses this very question.

Unlike any other economically advanced country, continuing-care coverage available to older Americans and people with disabilities is available mainly through Medicaid, a poverty program forcing people to “spend down” until they are poor enough to qualify. Private long-term care insurance is generally unreliable and covers only 6 percent of older Americans.

That’s true. We rarely see clients with long term care insurance. As stated, the vast majority are Medi-Cal recipients, many of whom ended up there after spending down all their assets for prior care.

The high costs of long term care is an important issued that has been lost in the national debate over the capacity of the U.S. economy to handle the cost of comprehensive health care reform. Even though conservatives and the cable media have instilled fear in the American public that modest reforms would break the Treasury if they hit a staggering $1 trillion over 10 years — that amount would represent merely three percent of the $30 trillion projected over the coming decade in U.S. health care spending.

To read the entire article Health Care Reform’s Missing Piece: Elder Care click here.

The elder abuse and neglect lawyers at the Walton Law Firm represent seniors and dependent adults who have been abused or neglected in the nursing home and assisted living setting. Call (866) 607-1325 for a free and confidential consultation.