ObamaCare New Year Day’s Surprise – Deep Cuts to Medicare Home Health

This is a story that has caught very little attention, but needs to be circulated as wide as possible. The world of government-managed health care is about to get very ugly for millions of senior citizens who rely on Medicare for their coverage. Quietly announced on the day after Thanksgiving, the Obama administration has decided to cut Medicare home health benefits to the tune of 14% between 2014 and 2017. Some of America’s most vulnerable citizens are under attack from a liberal administration who is determined to have its way with our health care system.

What does this mean for the companies that provide home health services and the senior citizens who depend on those services to stay out of nursing homes? The outlook is bleak and unpleasant.

Amac – The Administration made this announcement very quietly, waiting to do so until the very end of the last Friday before Thanksgiving, perhaps thinking that most people would not be looking.

To be sure, the timing of the Administration’s quiet announcement did keep it out of sight – for a while.  That ended on December 12th, however, when theWashington Examiner broke the story in an article headlined “ObamaCare forcing 14 percent cut in Medicare’s home health program.”  FOX News and the Daily Caller have also picked up this story, so full attention is now being paid to this unprecedented cut – and the harm it will do to frail seniors across America.

As the Examiner’s Richard Pollock wrote, “An estimated 3.5 million poor and ill homebound senior citizens will wake up on New Year’s Day to discover ObamaCare has slashed funding for their home health care program.”  He’s right: on January 1st, the Obama Administration will sharply cut Medicare funding for home healthcare services.

Totaling a whopping 14 percent between 2014 and 2017, this cut is the maximum allowable under the ObamaCare law.  The Administration had the discretion to cut less, or even to make no cuts at all.  But they decided to impose the deepest cut made possible by the Affordable Care Act (shouldn’t we be calling this the “Horrible Care Act”?) legislation.  And in doing so, they will shift billions of dollars from Medicare to ObamaCare.

This cut is not only unprecedented in its magnitude – it will have a direct and devastating impact on the millions of ailing seniors who want to stay in their homes and not have to move to a facility.

This year, Medicare home health services were delivered to approximately 3.5 million Medicare beneficiaries.  According to the federal government’s own data, these seniors are older, poorer and sicker than the Medicare beneficiary population as whole.  Many of these seniors also reside in rural communities, where home health care is especially important because other sources of treatment are often located many miles away.

The Medicare home health benefit is also of critical importance to younger Americans.  Families across America depend on home health services to help them care for their aging parents.  Having a skilled nurse come to their homes to deliver needed treatment not only means that Mom and Dad don’t have to go into a nursing home – it also means their adult daughters and sons can balance caring for their parents with raising a family and earning a living.

In light of its importance to millions of seniors and their families, the Medicare home health sector has been one of the nation’s leading creators of new jobs.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, thousands of Americans find employment every month in the home health field.  Just as important, these jobs are being created by small businesses, which constitute more than 90 percent of all providers of home health services.

But all that’s about to change.

Hidden on page 117 of the regulation that the Obama Administration quietly released on that Friday evening is a stunning admission: “approximately 40 percent” of all providers of home health services face net losses as a result of this Medicare cut.  Put more plainly, 4-in-10 of all the providers on whom homebound seniors depend face the threat of bankruptcy and closure as a result of ObamaCare.

While this news is troubling, it is not surprising. We’ve known all along that ObamaCare could not be paid for without new monies coming in. The medical device tax was created to help bring those new monies into ObamaCare. Other funds have been moved from their primary function to help provide funding for ObamaCare. We are now seeing more of that push, directed at the heart of an industry that helps senior citizens keep a portion of their dignity and independence.

The final effects of this newly announced cut to home health providers may not be known for some time, but it takes only minimal extrapolation skills to understand what those effects will be. If home health providers are faced with a 3.5% cut in Medicare payments from 2014 to 2017, they are, in effect, faced with a 14% total cut in three years. This almost assures that many of them will have to cut the services they provide, or go out of business altogether. As the article I quoted explains, this will affect not only senior citizens, but also their support systems, in the form of the family members who help provide their care.

What happens if a family is forced to choose between providing care for an elderly parent or grandparent and working to provide a living for their own immediate family? These cuts could lead to that exact scenario. All because the Obama administration is more focused on paying the bill for ObamaCare, instead of providing decent healthcare for the senior citizens who depend on home health providers for their care.

Of all the egregious and onerous actions taken by President Barack Obama since he was sworn into office, this ranks close to or at the top of the list.

Hat tip to Doug Ross, who gives us the following comic to explain how this is going to work. You can decide yourself if this qualifies as the death panels Sarah Palin tried to warn us about.

UPDATE:  This story is also being discussed at Conservative Hideout.

ObamaCare Death Panel

About LD Jackson

LD Jackson has written 2013 posts in this blog.

Founder and author of the political and news commentary blog Political Realities. I have always loved to write, but never have I felt my writing was more important than in this present day. If I have changed one mind or impressed one American about the direction our country is headed, then I will consider my endeavors a success. I take the tag line on this blog very seriously. Above all else, in search of the truth.

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  • http://www.gdjackson.net GD Jackson

    I wonder how he will try to blame the Republicans for this? You know he will try to spin it that way.

    • http://www.ldjackson.net LD Jackson

      I have no doubt he will do exactly that. It will be interesting to see how he tries to spin it in his favor.

  • http://www.bunkerville.wordpress.com Bunkerville

    I caught this as well. Hospital and doctors have been cut.. The regime wants seniors to chose an early exit anyway. This is sure one fast way to do it. They have cut nursing home reimbursements.

    • http://www.ldjackson.net LD Jackson

      This train wreck is about to derail right on top of the senior citizens in America. And Obama is not concerned, as long as his precious namesake legislation is implemented.

  • http://conservativesonfire.wordpress.com Jim at Asylum Watch

    I hope the AARP finally figures out that the Democrats want them to die, not Paul Ryan.

    • http://www.ldjackson.net LD Jackson

      This should clear that up for them. If they would be honest to themselves, that is.

  • http://leomcneil.net Leo McNeil

    In the next few years we’re going to discover a lot of stuff like this. Pelosi said we needed to pass the bill to find out what was in it. Now we’re discovering what was in the bill and no one is happy. Politically speaking this presents the GOP with a golden opportunity. They won’t take advantage though.

    • http://www.ldjackson.net LD Jackson

      Your last two sentences says it all. One would think the Republicans would be shouting this story from the rooftops. It is a prime example of how the Democrats have been lying about ObamaCare all along. It is also a prime example of how the Republicans seem to have no stomach for this fight.

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  • http://americaswatchtower.com Steve Dennis

    During the 2012 election Barack Obama and the Democrats claimed that the Republicans wanted to throw granny off the cliff by reforming Medicare, all the while knowing that the only people who voted to actually cut Medicare was the Democrats, and they managed to sell this to the American people. Now people are going to find out the truth the hard way, sometimes this is the only way people can learn the truth. I just wish people had listened to us instead of the Obama regime’s propaganda, this didn’t have to happen.

    • http://www.ldjackson.net LD Jackson

      I remember those ads well. Paul Ryan was made out to be quite the villain for the budget he proposed to reform Medicare. He was the devil incarnate, according to the Democrats and the liberal media. Enough Americans bought this lie to give Obama another four years in which to destroy our country. If only they had paid attention to the facts, instead of the lies they were fed.

  • http://capitolcommentary.com Harrison

    Definitely deserves a lump of coal, Larry.

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  • garrybry

    So the GOP were the ones pushing for cuts to Medicare and they whine when they get them?

    • http://www.ldjackson.net/ LD Jackson

      The problem with these cuts is that President Obama and the rest of the liberal left howled incessantly about Paul Ryan’s budget that proposed making cuts. And then, they turn around and make the same cuts to help pay for their signature train wreck. Without making it public knowledge. It’s the hypocrisy that kills it for me.

      • garrybry

        On that point I can agree, Mr Jackson. Seems hypocrisy is an ailment that has affected every “patient” in Congress. . .