Monday, August 01, 2011

Really, Really Stupid

Steve Lopez points out in his latest column for the Los Angeles Times just what we can expect with all of the cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, and it isn't at all very pretty. Lopez' father had recently been injured in a fall, requiring a stay at a convalescent home. Now he is being released and Lopez' mother has to take on the task of primary care giver, not an easy job for a woman herself in her 80s.

It's a scenario that is playing out for scores of elders, and it is being complicated by cuts to programs which have provided assistance to care givers by providing day care relief. Those programs are now in jeopardy because Gov. Brown has cut the Medicaid for such centers as part of the program to balance the budget.

Medi-Cal had paid for many of those seniors to spend four to six hours daily at the centers, providing social interaction for the participants and needed relief to family caregivers. But Brown has decided to eliminate that funding after Nov. 30 this year. ...

Many of the centers will have to close, leaving family care givers without any respite during the day and depriving patients with needed social stimulus. If the patients and families don't have the cash or the insurance, there is really only one long term alternative, one that is going to be very expensive.

"If just 20% of the people currently in adult day healthcare go to nursing homes, we could wipe out the savings," said state Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield (D-Woodland Hills).

In other words, this is a penny-wise, dollar-foolish cut. And it's another example of incoherent, jumbled healthcare policies in a country of rapidly aging boomers. A country that spends billions keeping terminally ill patients alive with pacemakers and feeding tubes only to inflict more suffering on them.

While I don't have detailed knowledge of just what the "Great Compromise" reached by President Obama and congressional leaders entails, I do know that Medicare and Medicaid cuts were in the mix. We can expect that this scenario will now be played out on the national stage, not just in California.

But, hey! It's just a bunch of old geezers. They've had their lives.

A pox on all the politicians' houses.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn, that makes me just want to cry. I honestly believe that my father's life was shortened because the family took on care, and that was his only interaction (I'm on another coast).

I get that Brown has limited options, but what is going on in Washington was avoidable. If I had children I don't think I would be able to stop myself from going ballistic on the politicians who are selling us all out.

5:33 AM  

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