As the AGS continues to voice concern for public policy changes that jeopardize care for older Americans the Society’s geriatrics experts call for safeguards to protect older people who rely on Medicaid for long-term services and supports.
New York (May 11, 2017)—The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) today voiced concern over recent reports that budget cuts in Louisiana could terminate Medicaid benefits for more than 35,000 residents of nursing and group homes, as well as for individuals who receive care at home while living well below the federal poverty line. The loss of Medicaid coverage—the federal program that funds long-term care for older Americans—not only jeopardizes long-term care benefits but also could lead to housing evictions for older people already living with limited means. As other states across the U.S. face similar budget concerns, the AGS urges state and national policymakers to support solutions that ensure all older Americans can look forward to health, safety, and independence in the communities they helped shape.
In Louisiana specifically, the state budget now includes steep health spending cuts—including those aimed at Medicaid benefits—to compensate for lost tax revenue exceeding $1 billion. Worried that other states facing similar budget gaps could turn to healthcare cuts impacting older people, AGS experts again cautioned that programs like Medicaid and Medicare remain crucial to ensuring we all have access to high-quality, person-centered care as we age.
Currently, six million older Americans and 10 million Americans with disabilities rely on Medicaid for their unique care needs, for example. For some two million older Americans who have exhausted their life savings and whose income is insufficient to cover long‐term care, Medicaid is the only avenue for accessing nursing home care and home and community‐based services.
“We are deeply concerned about the impact of both federal and state budget cuts on older Americans who rely on safety net programs like Medicaid for their long-term well-being,” noted AGS Chief Executive Officer Nancy E. Lundebjerg, MPA. “They have contributed to their communities, and now we are concerned that other states will terminate Medicaid benefits for our most vulnerable citizens when they are most in need of our support. We at the AGS will continue to work tirelessly to ensure we all have the supports we need as we age.”
About the American Geriatrics Society
Founded in 1942, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) is a nationwide, not-for-profit society of geriatrics healthcare professionals that has—for 75 years—worked to improve the health, independence, and quality of life of older people. Its nearly 6,000 members include geriatricians, geriatric nurses, social workers, family practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, and internists. The Society provides leadership to healthcare professionals, policymakers, and the public by implementing and advocating for programs in patient care, research, professional and public education, and public policy. For more information, visit AmericanGeriatrics.org.