March 7, 2002
*** Attention all Zoners: here's the "LTC Week in Review" content we'll be adding to the Center's Donor-Only Zone on Monday: "Boomers in Retirement," "Rats Discover Fountain of Youth," "New Edition of LTC Planning Guide," "How to Reverse Memory Loss," and "Medicaid Home Reduced to Begging for Private Charity." ***
*** The Center's first two LTC Graduate Seminars, conducted
in Chicago March 4 and 5, were a big success.
One participant asked her husband for the enrollment fee as an
anniversary present (in lieu of "a nice piece of jewelry") and was
glad she did. Another spent his
"double-nickel" birthday (55) at the program and commented "Your
thorough explanation of the Medicare/Medicaid crisis was extremely
informative." A third
indicated "I would recommend your seminar to anyone who is passionate about
marketing LTCI to their clients and wants to get a better understanding of the
big picture." Watch for an LTC
Graduate Seminar in your area. Were
coming to Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and probably New Orleans and Sacramento in
May. Details to follow in a future
LTC Bullet. If you're interested in
locking in a reservation, email firstname.lastname@example.org and let her know.
Remember, these are small group seminars and they will fill fast! ***
The LA Times recently reported that states around the
country are continuing to cut Medicaid funding and services in response to
mounting budget pressures. In many
instances, these cuts affect long-term care recipients.
The Center for LTC Financing has implored states to consider new public
policy to divert most people away from taxpayer-financed care in order to save
our scarce public dollars for the truly needy.
With rational public policy in place, most people will save, invest, or
insure for long-term care. The
Center's "LTC Choice" framework for public policy reform is set forth
in the Center's white paper "LTC Choice:
A Simple, Cost-Free Solution to the Long-Term Care Financing Puzzle"
(online in .pdf format at http://www.centerltc.org/pubs/CLTCFReport.pdf).
However, unless and until states accept the futility of current public
policy (which has resulted in massive over-utilization of our public safety-net
programs), more cuts that could jeopardize access and quality of care for
Medicaid recipients are likely on the way.
Below are a few quotes from the LA Times article
"Medicaid Ax is Falling as Recession Saps States"
(3/5/02, online at http://latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-000016509mar05.story?coll=la%2Dheadlines%2Dnation).
We encourage you to read the entire article to appreciate the enormity of
the crisis. Examples of actual or
proposed Medicaid cuts are given for Vermont, Florida, Illinois, Missouri,
California, Utah, and Arkansas.
"Their budgets squeezed tight by recession, lawmakers
in state after state have had enough. They
are moving to cut some people off Medicaid insurance and to trim benefits for
those who remain."
* * *
"At their annual meeting last week, the nation's
governors were unanimous in declaring Medicaid's cost the most urgent crisis
they face. Just how grave the
problem is became clear Friday, when Mississippi's Medicaid program went broke.
Lawmakers there were unable to come up with the money to pay for medical
care for the poor."
* * *
"The prospect [of lower Medicaid reimbursement] does
not so much enrage nursing home owner Steven Wolf as it leaves him speechless.
Already, he says, he is losing more than $20 a day on each of the 115 or
so Medicaid patients at his Calvin Johnson Care Center--a worn but cheery
nursing home in Belleville, a blue-collar suburb of St. Louis.
"The medical staff and the housekeepers, the liver
lunches and the scrambled eggs on request, the balloon volleyball games, the pet
therapy, the concerts of patriotic music--it all costs him close to $107 per
patient per day. Medicaid pays him
$86. And the governor has
proposed slashing that by nearly 9%."
* * *
"'It's just impossible,' concludes Anne Swerlick, an
attorney at Florida Legal Services, which works on behalf of low-income people.
"But state lawmakers and Medicaid administrators throw the same phrase right back at their critics. It's not possible, they say, for Medicaid to do so much for so many. Not if there is to be money left over to improve schools and fix highways and protect children from abuse, to lower taxes and build parks. Not in this economy."
*If you want to contact your elected officials and/or local
media with your thoughts on the material covered in this LTC Bullet, please do
so by visiting http://capwiz.com/centerltc/home/
for quick and easy access to the necessary contact information.*
*A formatted version of today's LTC Bullet is available at www.centerltc.org/bullets/current/344.htm.*