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Report Finds Problems with Assisted Living Oversight

Bigstock-Doctor-with-female-patient-21258332[1]One way that Medicaid can save money is by paying for assisted living care for seniors who are eligible for it, instead of paying for nursing home care. A new report found that because of a lack of oversight, that is not happening.

Medicaid was not originally designed to pay for seniors' stays in assisted living facilities. However, as more and more money was being spent on nursing home facilities and the costs at those facilities continued to rise, the federal government granted states waivers to use Medicaid funds for the generally less expensive assisted living facilities.

This should have saved the federal government quite a bit of money.

A group of Senators asked the Government Accountability Office to study how the government's money was being used. The results were not good as The New York Times reported in "U.S. Pays Billions for 'Assisted Living,' but What Does It Get?"

Every year the government spends approximately $10 billion on assisted living facilities. The discouraging news? It is almost impossible to determine how much of the money is well-spent and how much of it is not. The GAO found that a lack of regulations and proper oversight made it impossible to get even basic information about patient outcomes and critical events in many states.

This is disturbing since Medicaid is expected to need even more money in the future to pay for the nursing home care and assisted living care of an aging population. If the oversight problem is not fixed, it will be seniors who are most harmed by the problems.

Reference: New York Times (Feb. 3, 2018) "U.S. Pays Billions for 'Assisted Living,' but What Does It Get?"


Medicaid Facts

MP900178564[1]Repeal of the Affordable Care Act has been one the biggest news items in recent weeks. Changes to Medicaid in Republican proposals have received a lot of attention, but many people do not know exactly what Medicaid does.

You probably know that Medicaid is the federal government program that provides health care coverage to poor Americans. However, in the debate about the repeal of Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) and possible reductions to Medicaid in various appeal proposals, what often gets lost is exactly what that federal government program for the poor does.

Facts about the program get lost in the media noise.

It is important to know the facts, because only then can you really decide if you are for or against any changes.

NPR recently published a list of some lesser known facts about Medicaid in "From Birth To Death, Medicaid Affects The Lives of Millions," including:

  • It is very expensive. Medicaid currently takes up approximately 10% of the federal budget. State governments contribute even more on top of that to the costs of the program.
  • Half of all births in the U.S. are covered by Medicaid. The program has been expanded multiple times to include more and more pregnant women.
  • Some 62% of nursing home residents have their care through Medicaid.
  • Disabled people and the people who take care of them are often eligible to receive their care through Medicaid.
  • Medicaid is a major source of funding for the fight against opioid addiction.

Reference: NPR (June 27, 2017) "From Birth To Death, Medicaid Affects The Lives of Millions."