Dear Clients and Friends:
I recently posted an article (LISTEN TO LAWRENCE LETTER, April 21, 2022 • Volume 3 Issue 32) about the shortage of home care workers and how they are underpaid. In an effort to foster a continued dialogue, I am now posting a comment from one of my readers:
Thanks for addressing this topic! Politicians ought to understand economics. But it’s plainly obvious that unless an infirm patient requires a lot of expensive equipment daily or overnight skilled supervision, it’s less expensive to have a health aide visit than to pay for nursing home care. Raising the wages of these workers would unquestionably save funds, not cost more! Just another reason I believe health insurance should be privatized. Government control almost always messes things up. The people should have more control over their lives. They could choose plans and/or doctors who offer what they want or need at the best price. Competition in the marketplace tends to save people money.
I can empathize with the above comment. Most people would like to have more control and more choices over the home care they may need, and certainly, no one wants to go into a nursing home. Some people purchase private long-term care insurance which maximizes their choices, but this insurance is often unavailable for reasons of insurability or cost.
Unfortunately, the economics of Medicaid is an effort in progress. New York Medicaid started out being very stingy with paying for home care but would pay the entire nursing home bill. It was perceived that the system pushed people into nursing homes as a result. Then Medicaid got the idea that they would save a lot of money by paying more for home care because it would be cheaper than paying for a nursing home. It turned out that the program was so popular that everyone wanted home care, people came out of the woodwork for the benefit…and blew the budget. It appears that before, families would keep their loved ones at home and either pay for care privately or provide the care themselves. However, when they found out that the government would pay for it, the demand became overwhelming. In response, Medicaid cut the home care budget by limiting authorized hours and by not paying home care workers a fair wage.
And this is where we find ourselves now…FRUSTRATED.