Retirement living standards could depend on health care reform

Many seniors depend on the services provided by Medicaid to maintain their standards of retirement living, but the results of a recent analysis suggest the nation's support for the program is diminishing.

Eljay, an accounting firm, recently conducted a study that revealed how essential Medicare funding is in providing seniors with benefits and services, especially since financing for long-term care through Medicaid will likely be cut by $4.7 billion in 2009.

Retirement living standards could depend on health care reform

"As the already vast gap between the actual cost of providing quality eldercare and what the Medicaid program actually finances continues to grow, Medicare-funded nursing homecare increasingly serves as a literal lifeline to providers and the 1.7 million U.S. seniors under our care," said Robert Van Dyk, chair of the American Health Care Association.

Van Dyk says that many states are being forced to cut the senior population's Medicaid benefits because of insufficient budgets, meaning adequate Medicare funding is becoming an increasingly important aspect of health care reform.

Although Medicare is normally reserved for seniors who are over the age of 65, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says exceptions can be made for younger individuals who have certain disabilities.

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