The cuts to the Medicare system have decimated the healthcare industry, a sad fact hidden from the average American citizen. In an ill thought out plan, the United States Congress cut 23 billion dollars a year out of the Medicare system over the next five years. Around the country, hospital patients, nursing home residents and home health patients are being denied lifesaving treatment because of insufficient reimbursement by the government. In the wake of news reports of these tragedies, many Congressmen are now calling for a new vote to restore much of what they gutted from the public healthcare system.
At the forefront of the problems that have arisen because of the Medicare cuts is the lack of care for the most needy of our citizens, the elderly. In the United States, close to 40 million Americans are on the Medicare health system, of that number around 75 percent are over the age of 65. At a time when the life expectancy has increased to 78 years old, and medical care presumably is becoming more necessary, should we really be limiting the access to that care? In my position as a paralegal for a major healthcare company I routinely hear of husbands or wives returning to work in their seventies to pay the medical and nursing home costs for their spouses.
In a Florida nursing facility the husband of a resident recently died from malnutrition. He had been working two jobs to pay for his wife’s nursing home care after she had exhausted her Medicare benefits. In an effort to save money, he had been eating dog food for about two months. Two sons of a California nursing home resident each month turn over their social security checks to pay for their mother’s nursing home stay. When asked what they were living on they replied that they had sold both their homes and were living together in an apartment. Both sons were in there sixties, and most likely would need care themselves at some point, who would provide it for them?