Opponents of Obamacare repeal are engaged in the same politics of fraud they used to sell it
Die-hard Obamacare defenders are out in force over July 4 to protest Republican repeal efforts. The protesters are falsely claiming the repeal will gut Medicaid, causing frail, indigent seniors to be evicted from nursing homes. It's sheer demagoguery. But even these phony claims could have redeeming value if they get the public to take a closer look at nursing homes and see the filth, rampant infections and neglect -- conditions routinely tolerated by our indifferent public officials.Democrats are willing to engage in fraud to save this monstrosity. They must believe that they cannot win an honest debate on the issues.
Indifference is the real culprit, not inadequate Medicaid money. For example, New York state pays among the highest Medicaid rates in the nation -- yet also tolerates some of the worst conditions. A shocking 40 percent of nursing homes in New York provide inferior care, according to federal ratings. That's worse than 39 other states.
Nationwide, one-third of nursing home residents suffer serious, often permanent, injuries due to neglect, according to a federal inspector general report.
Don't count on the media to cover these deaths. The Washington Post is busy claiming repeal "takes a sledgehammer to Medicaid." The New York Times reports that "steep cuts to Medicaid" will force some seniors out of their nursing homes. Here's the truth: There are no "cuts." Medicaid spending will continue to increase every year, though at a slower rate.
The real threat to seniors isn't Medicaid funding levels. It's that Medicaid officials tolerate substandard nursing home care, when they could use the program's market clout to demand safer care. About 66 percent of long-term residents are paid for by Medicaid.