The vast majority of older Americans want to age in place, several past surveys have found.
Unsurprisingly, that desire has translated into overwhelming support for the Choose Home Care Act.
Introduced in July by Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.), Choose Home is legislation designed to give nursing home-eligible Medicare beneficiaries more options for how and where they recover following a hospital stay. If enacted, Choose Home would make “extended care services” an add-on to the existing Medicare home health benefit for a 30-day window.
Currently, the legislation is endorsed by AARP, the Allies for Independence and several other advocacy groups.
The Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare (PQHH) and the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) highlighted the support for Choose Home Tuesday by sharing results of a new public opinion poll. The poll, conducted by Morning Consult, is based on a national sample of 2,200 adults.
“The results of the new poll show what we’ve long appreciated: A vast majority of Americans support greater access to health care services in the comfort and safety of their own homes,” PQHH Executive Director Joanne Cunningham said in a statement. “As Congress continues to consider the bipartisan Choose Home Care Act, it will be critical to ensure that the needs of Medicare beneficiaries and their families are being met in today’s changing healthcare landscape.”
Over nine in 10 of the Medicare beneficiaries who took part in the poll said they would prefer to receive post-hospital short-term health care at home. Just 3% said they would prefer post-hospital nursing home care.
Additionally, 85% of adults from the poll said it should be a high priority for the federal government to expand Medicare coverage for at-home health care. That figure was even higher for those over the age of 65.
When it comes to Choose Home specifically, 86% of adults — and 94% of Medicare beneficiaries — said they support the recently introduced legislation. That support did not fall along party lines, with strong backing of Choose Home among Democrats and Republicans alike.
“This important poll confirms the growing public support for improved opportunities to ‘age in place’ with health care in one’s own home,” NAHC President William A. Dombi said. “The Choose Home legislation provides such an opportunity with high-quality care that reduces Medicare spending while fulfilling patient preferences. It is a timely modernization of Medicare.”
Examples of extended care services include personal care support, meals, non-emergency transportation, remote patient monitoring and more.
In addition to Stabenow and Young, co-sponsors of Choose Home include Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.).
An analysis from health economics firm Dobson DaVanzo & Associates found that the Choose Home model would generate as much as $247 million in annual savings to the Medicare system, with the bulk of that coming from averted SNF stays.
If enacted, the model would lead to savings of up to $2.8 billion over 10 years, according to the analysis.