Forbes: Health Care Reform Debate Leaves Out Law’s Benefits to Seniors

The debate between Republicans, Democrats, and everyone in between rages on regarding President Obama’s controversial Affordable Care Act, but in their fervor to debate the constitutionality of the individual mandate, among other of the law’s provisions, many aren’t even mentioning three key benefits to seniors that the healthcare reform law does provide, says a Forbes article

1. The Elder Justice Act
If we want to stop seeing so many horrifying stories of elder abuse, both physical and financial, we need a national coordination of effort to fight elder abuse. Now, it’s here, in the ACA. The Act will establish grants to create centers for developing forensic expertise to collect evidence relating to elder abuse, neglect or exploitation. It will enhance training of staff in nursing homes. It will strengthen the enforcement ability of Federal and State entities to prosecute elder abuse cases, among other things.

2. Community First Choice Option
This provision is for participating states who want the 6% increase in Federal Medicaid funding to pay for community-based attendant services for elders who would otherwise have to go to a nursing home or other care facility. This is the only kind of attendant care support available through Medicaid that has the purpose of keeping people out of nursing homes, a far more expensive option than staying at home. Is anyone really in favor of forcing people into nursing homes because they can’t pay for the hours of attendant care that allow them the independence of staying in their own homes? Typically, it costs three times as much to put someone in a nursing home as it does to care for them with attendants at home.


3. Improving seniors’ access to home-based primary care physicians and nurses
Through the Independence at Home demonstration, the ACA will pay physicians and nurse practitioners to provide home-based primary care to targeted chronically ill individuals for a three-year period… Preventive care and monitoring seniors at home heads off complications of chronic illness. This will keep the cost of care down in the long run. If Medicaid eligible seniors go to nursing homes, the taxpayers are footing the bill.  It’s over $95,000 per year, on average, for a shared room in a nursing home.

The cost of elder care continues to rise, and the burden placed on adult children keeps getting bigger, the Forbes writer says, adding that “Regardless of your politics, you can’t miss how urgent these problems are becoming. Without legislation to try to repair these problems, they just keep growing on a massive scale.” 

Read the full piece at Forbes


Written by Alyssa Gerace