To the editor:
My father spent the last four years of his life in a nursing home. The monthly bills started at $6,250 and increased to $7,500 as his dementia worsened. He died in late 2009 so the costs would be even higher today.
My father had enough savings to pay the nursing home bills. Most Americans do not. Half of American families have no retirement savings. Few have managed to save $60,000. And $60,000 would not last 10 months in many nursing homes. If the person has a home, it will have to be sold to pay the bills. If the person is married, their spouse will need to find somewhere to live with little if any savings.
This is where Medicaid comes in. When a family’s savings run out, Medicaid pays the nursing home bill.
At least it does now.
If the GOP’s repeal of the Affordable Care Act goes through there will be big cuts to the Medicaid program. States, especially New Hampshire, will not pick up the tab.
It will be up to the person’s children to pay for mom or dad, possibly just when their own children are ready for college. Those without willing children will get stuck on long waiting lists then dumped into care homes with as little medical help as the state will allow.
If you have employer provided health insurance and think repealing the Affordable Care Act will not affect you, think again. You will get old. If you are lucky, so will your parents.