"If we are going to 'fix' our healthcare system from cradle to grave, there is a whole lot fixing which needs to be done. If we don't address the end of life issues, I fear we will go back to the days of warehousing old people into nursing homes, many to a room, just waiting to die."
The nation's eyes have been so focused on healthcare, they are missing the crisis which is developing behind the curtain. Part of it is our fault. I mean our fault due to the prowess, skills and ingenuity of our medical community. They have come up with medications and treatments which allow us to live longer. Unfortunately for an ever increasing number of people, that means living your final days in a care facility.
What is the issue Bird? Is that a bad thing that people are living longer? Not a bit except for one thing - money. If a person has any kind of assets that he or she would like to leave to the family, a few months in a care facility or assisted living will take care of those assets in short order. At $225 to $250/day for a care facility, assets can evaporate in a New York minute.
What about long term care insurance? Yes, it is out there. Costs a mint. Plus most plans have a ton of exclusions. But, still some are fortunate enough to have it, and it has worked for them. Some, not many. And certainly not all. So here is the "something else" about our healthcare. The population of geriatric folks is going to keep going up. How we care for these people also needs to go up. Both in facilities and caregivers.
Now comes the ugly part. Once the assets run out, the person becomes Medicaid eligible. And in these days of healthcare squabbling, who pays for Medicaid is a hot potato. Should it be our broke federal government, or soon to be broke states? $225/day for care times hundreds of thousands of people on Medicaid can add up fast.
Was this topic just fodder for a Friday article? Not really. We went through this issue with my Mother. Between assisted living and the care facility, we saw her assets disappear faster than snow in May. And then started the laborious task of dealing with the county to get my Mother Medicaid assistance. It was tough - real tough.
If we are going to "fix" our healthcare system from cradle to grave, there is a whole lot fixing which needs to be done. If we don't address the end of life issues, I fear we will go back to the days of warehousing old people into nursing homes, many to a room, just waiting to die.