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Medicaid Cuts Could Force Seniors Out Of Nursing Homes

Man on wheelchair in a park

Currently, there are somewhere around one million Americans living in senior living of some type, and that number is expected to double by 2030. But those estimations might be a little exaggerated with recent news concerning state budget cuts.

Medicaid is one of the biggest payers for most of the 1.4 million individuals in nursing homes, covering 20% of all Americans and 40% of poorer adults.

But Senate Republicans, along with House members, proposed steep cuts to Medicaid as part of the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. This is done to help roll back what is seen as a costly and expanding entitlement program; however, little is being said about what will happen to nursing home residents if the cuts took place.

Toby Edelman, a senior policy attorney at the Center for Medicare Advocacy, doesn’t think things will get easier for individuals.

“The states are going to make it harder to qualify medically for needing nursing home care. They’d have to be more disabled before they qualify for Medicaid assistance,” he told The New York Times.

As it stands, the Federal law dictates that state Medicaid programs are required to cover the costs of nursing homes. However, state officials can decide how much to pay those facilities, and states with poorer budgets can decrease the amounts they’re willing to pay or restrict eligibility for coverage.

According to The New York Times, many people entered old age with a solid foundation for their finances but turned to Medicaid after exhausting their insurance and assets.

This, combined with longer life spans and health care costs rising rapidly, left so many Americans in nursing homes dependent on Medicaid.

Mark Parkinson, the President of the American Health Care Association, which is a national nursing home industry group, notes these factors.

“People are simply outliving their relatives and their resources, and fortunately, Medicaid has been there.”