Reforms cut Healthcare Costs more than Reducing Support

As State lawmakers cut home healthcare benefits and cite budget shortfalls, their actions may end up costing Medicaid and taxpayers more in forced nursing home costs. This goes against the national healthcare objective of reducing costs overall and long-term.

The idea for this short article came from discussing Accountable Care Organizations with a colleague. Under proposed rules by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), an ACO refers to a group of medical and service suppliers that coordinate patient care. The goal is to deliver higher quality care for Medicare beneficiaries at lower cost and with better outcomes, facilitated by a patient-centered ACO where patients and providers are true partners in care decisions. It’s kind of like an improved version of the Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) concept, where health professionals had financial incentives to keep you well, or make you well, rather than just treating symptoms. Without coordinated care, seniors with multiple ailments and seeing multiple specialists, face problems from conflicting treatment plans and drug prescriptions.

I’m encouraged that so much of the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) actually focuses on reforming healthcare rather than on its funding, because reforms that improve the delivery system and reduce waste and fraud can have a bigger overall impact on the total costs than just reducing funding support. An important part of that reform deals with home healthcare. is a website that encourages citizens to take healthcare into their own hands, find insurance options, learn about prevention, compare quality care, and understand the law. Here’s a video describing new Medicare benefits and savings in 2011: