Medicare and Medicaid Cuts Raise Concerns for Texas Seniors
Waxahachie, TX (Law Firm Newswire) July 1, 2012 – After cuts of $234 million to Medicare for 2012 and $58 million removed from the Medicaid budget in 2011, Texas leaders have now directed state agencies to freeze spending.
Some observers are concerned that the state budget cuts will have an ongoing negative effect on the growing population of older patients in the state.
“The cuts to Medicare and Medicaid are a cause for concern for many families caring for an elderly loved one, and for older adults planning for retirement,” said John Hale, a Dallas and Waxahachie elder law and estate planning attorney. “Negotiating the complexities of Medicare and Medicaid is often best done with the assistance of experienced legal counsel.”
The recent cuts follow a phased-in national reduction in Medicare in 2009. Even before these actions, in recent years, nursing home care in Texas had been ranked 49th in the nation in terms of Medicaid reimbursement. Since 80 to 85 percent of nursing facility residents in Texas depend on either Medicaid or Medicare to fund their care, the cuts could affect many people adversely.
According to the Texas Department on Aging, Texas has the fourth largest elderly population in the country. In 2000, there were 2.7 million Texans over the age of 60. The Department on Aging projects that there will be 7.5 million people over the age of 60 in the state by the year 2030, with the number of Texas Medicaid enrollees of all ages reaching 4.3 million. Medicaid costs could increase to over $14 billion by 2030.
The Texas Health Care Association recently warned that cuts to Medicaid and Medicare could have a harmful impact on the healthcare facilities that deliver important services to Texas seniors. One consequence of these cuts could be the shuttering of nursing homes. This unfortunate possibility could lead to even more hospital emergency room visits by seniors because they have been separated from the consistent care which prevents them from needing ER visits. Shutting down nursing homes and thereby reducing daily care for some seniors may also put them at risk of situations requiring acute care.
John Hale is a Dallas elder law attorney and Dallas estate planning lawyer with The Hale Law Firm. To learn more visit http://www.thehalelawfirm.com.
The Hale Law Firm
417 W. Main Street
Waxahachie, TX 75165
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