Having just returned from Washington D.C., attending and presenting at The American Society on Aging Conference, I realized the importance of those of us aging, caring for frail family members and those with careers in the field of aging to stand up and be heard.
We cannot afford the luxury of denial or being complacent. No matter what side of the political spectrum you find yourself on or if you care about “care”, now is the time to let your representatives, both local and national, know that we cannot reduce discretionary line items in our national budget. These are the funds for services that actually keep elders in their homes and out of the expensive health care and long term care Medicaid settings. It is spending a dime to save $10,000.
Yes, there are ways to reduce the overspending in Medicare but it isn’t reducing payments to physicians. I think if we brought about 25 people with common sense together – good organization skills, some understanding of the levels of medical care and criteria for each level, they could look at what we do spend money on and find ways to cut spending without compromising the health of seniors or to demoralize physicians. We need to remove politicians (sorry) from these decisions.
The proposed budget change and plan to transform Medicare using a voucher system will only add another expensive, cumbersome system of bureaucracy. I don’t have answers; I only seek those of you with common sense to be creative in ensuring a health system that cares when necessary and doesn’t inflate any one pocket in the health care delivery system. Did my mother really need to be seen by 10 different specialists on her last hospitalization? What if the hospital had resident Geriatricians instead of hospitalists who come from a variety of specializations? I think I just saved a few thousand right there… and the story continues.
We also need to revisit the “Class Act”. It sounded to me like a common sense start at getting us to save for our own care (of course we can’t add another burden onto the current deficit – but I trust some creative people to come up with a replacement or another like idea). My-oh-my, doesn’t it make you shake your head.
Our representatives want to hear from us and I found them willing to listen (or at least their staff). So, please for your future and that of our parents, stand up and be heard – be part of the positive change. Fight for good medical care and community services that allow the frailest among us to stay in their own homes and/or the community of their choosing.