Nursing Homes and Politics
May 22, 2017
Our tiny town is fortunate to have an exceptional nursing home - Pleasant Meadows. With about 100 residents it touches the lives of virtually everyone in our community. It is by far the largest employer with nearly 150 on the payroll and dozens more health contractors like occupational therapists.
I have had aunts, uncles, cousins, scores of neighbors, and generations of church family cared for there. Having a facility this close is an abiding comfort to our aging community.
We have even prayed in church for an opening at "the nursing home" for a parishioner in need of care. Although a few of us uncomfortably later realized how such openings usually come about.
With all the debate about government and health care, one fact seems to have flown under the radar. Medicaid is the single largest source of long term care funding in our country. I've noticed that debate over cutting Medicaid tends to center on the poor adults, but this is too narrow a focus.
Medicaid is the reason we have a high-quality facility like this in Chrisman, and before we take an axe to this enormous entitlement, we might want to have a few more facts.
Next week I'll start an AgSplainer about Medicaid and rural America that might help inform your opinions about what we are doing wrong on health care policy, and how we should work to make it better.
But for now, I suggest this rule of thumb: all arguments about government involvement in health care play out differently in rural American compared to our urban counterparts.
If we don't pay attention, the resolution of this rancorous debate could endanger the already fragile rural medical infrastructure.