Doug Ross has a comic-strip version of the story under the heading “Death Panel Comix,” but he will be the first to tell you this is no laughing matter. Andrew Magione, writing at the website of the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC), notes that the most transparent administration in history quietly announced late on the Friday before Thanksgiving that deep cuts would be made Medicare program’s home health benefit to offset the costs of Obamacare.
To be sure, the timing of the Administration’s quiet announcement did keep it out of sight — for a while. That ended on December 12th, however, when the Washington Examiner broke the story in an article headlined ‘ObamaCare forcing 14 percent cut in Medicare’s home health program.’ FOX News and the Daily Caller have also picked up this story, so full attention is now being paid to this unprecedented cut — and the harm it will do to frail seniors across America.
Here is the sobering bottom line: Some half a million (14% of the estimated 3.5 million) homebound senior citizens will wake up on New Year’s Day to discover their “safety net” is gone. According to the federal government’s own data, these seniors are older, poorer, and sicker than the Medicare beneficiary population as whole. What that means is that many will be forced out of their homes and into “treatment facilities for the aging.”
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But the damage won’t stop there. It will also create a financial burden for 40% of providers of home health services, many of which could face the threat of bankruptcy or closure, and will shut down an avenue of potential employment: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Medicare home health sector has long been one of the nation’s leading creators of new jobs.
Mangione, who is the Vice President of Government Relations for AMAC, grimly notes:
To my knowledge, this is the first time that any regulation has been issued by any Administration with the knowledge that it would put nearly half of the people it impacted out of business.