Jun 2, 2011

Imagine a World with Thousands of Homeless Alzheimer's Patients

You might think this is far fetched or that it can't happen. Think again...
By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

You cannot turn on the television these days without hearing from politicians that want to cut Medicare benefits and cut back Medicaid.

I feel confident when I say this. The draconian talk of cutting Medicare benefits will lead to a larger and larger number of Alzheimer's patients that are destitute. They will run out of money before they die.

If you cut Medicare, Alzheimer's patients will go broke sooner rather than later. As should be obvious, there will be a greater and greater number of patients suffering from dementia as the Baby Boom generation ages.

Today, once you exhaust most of your savings and assets you entire the Medicaid system. If Medicare benefits are cut more people will reach the Medicaid threshold sooner.

If the proposed draconian cuts in healthcare were to be enacted it will surely create a domino effect. As benefits continue to be cut it is likely that corporations will leave the Medicare system and Medicaid system. Corporations won't be able to make a profit. If you cannot make a profit the result is simple. Bankruptcy and closure of memory care facilities.

The system will be overwhelmed with patient with no where to go.

Today I am reading about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. He wants to cut 23,000 New Jersey residents out of Medicaid system. He will accomplish this by lowering the eligibility level from $24,645 to $5,317 a year. Not for one person, but for a family of three.

It appears the Governor believes that a family of three making over $5,317 is too rich to receive Medicaid.

Imagine the number of sick people that are going to end up in the hospital when all they needed was some medication. Medication that they can't afford, and medication that they can no longer receive from Medicaid because they are no longer eligible.

If the current trends continue, and if this kind of legislation is passed, I see a future with Alzheimer's patients living under bridges along with the homeless.

I have to ask myself. Are we going to return to dreaded past. The path that my father knew (born in 1915); and that, my mother knew (born in 1916). The dreaded "home".

You might recall me writing about Dotty and how she would scream at me, "You are not putting me in home, I'll kill myself first". It must have been very ugly in a "home" when my father and mother were children and young adults.

We are clearly poor little sheep who have lost our way.

The United States of America was built on "shared prosperity". The next Presidential election will more likely than not be decided on issues like Medicare and Medicaid.

Of course, and please pardon my language here, it is possible that every politician in this country will bend over so that they can keep their job. Or, will someone have the courage to stand up and say, "Enough is Enough".

I see a future, right now, where many of the Baby Boom generation are heading for a "home"; or worse, homelessness.

One way, or another, we will get back to caring about, and for, each other via "shared prosperity".

Of course, it is impossible to predict how low we can go before we come to our senses. It is impossible to know when the pendulum will start to swing back in the opposite direction.

These thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The blog contains more than 2,680 articles with more than 512,100 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

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Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room