GOP Sends Mixed Message on Senior Home Care Funding

Why are Republicans making it so hard for older people to continue to live at home in their later years? The question is posed in a Forbes editorial published this week by Urban Institute and Forbes contributor Howard Gleckman. 

Outlining proposed changes to funding for home care programs that Republicans currently support, the editorial says the GOP is going about budget changes in a “strange” way in that it says it favors home health care, but its budgetary decisions don’t support it. 

Gleckman writes: 

GOP lawmakers say they support Medicaid’s Home and Community Based programs that provide long-term services and supports in the community rather than in nursing homes. Many GOP governors are leading efforts to shift Medicaid spending to home care. Yet the new GOP budget, which the House is likely to pass on Thursday, would slash the very federal programs that provide the infrastructure this vulnerable poulation needs to stay at home.

The House would not directly cut Medicaid long-term care benefits themslves. But it would entirely eliminate funding for the Social Services Block Grant program, which helps fund Meals on Wheels, transportation, and other important assistance for people with chronic disease who live at home. It would also eliminate or cut other key programs for respite care, food stamps for low-income seniors, and other key services

…This budget will never pass the Senate, at least not this year. But budgets send an important message about a political party’s priorities. And these seem pretty strange. 

Read the original Forbes article.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker