It's been 20 days since the Republican Congress reneged on the 9 million of the nation's children and families, allowing the spending authorization for the Children's Health Insurance Program. Because that is on its face so incredibly callous, we tend to forget that along with CHIP, other critical health programs for vulnerable populations have been abandoned as well. It's not just the children who are going to suffer.
She has inflammation in her gallbladder, frequent facial pain, and near paralysis on her left side ever since a stroke a few years back—but 74-year-old Sylvia Hollie is still living at home. […]
Hollie gets to stay in that home thanks to a house call pilot program aimed at many of Medicare’s sickest — and costliest—patients.
And while her immediate care isn’t in jeopardy, the federal support for the pilot program is, after funding and authorization for it and dozens of other health initiatives expired at the end of September. On their face, these so-called “extenders”—named because the policies they describe usually need to be reauthorized, reinstated, or extended at regular intervals—aren’t especially controversial. But in the midst of partisan tension over all things health-related, the programs are facing a more uncertain future than ever before.
The Medicare’s Independence at Home Demonstration project that's keeping Hollie, and 10,000 others, out of a nursing home and out of the emergency room is one of those programs. In doing so, the pilot program has saved Medicare more than $34 million in the first two years. The people enrolled in the project are still getting care, but enrollments are frozen and the future of the program uncertain. As are programs that help seniors navigate Medicare's complexities or that shore up small, rural hospitals, and help stem childhood obesity.
“These expiring programs must be extended, or it will have a crushing impact on many small and rural hospitals and the communities they serve,” said Erik Rasmussen, vice president of legislative affairs for the American Hospital Association. “These programs can mean the difference between a rural hospital maintaining or eliminating certain services for patients who rely on these hospitals as a vital — and often only — source of care.”
Lots of those small and rural hospitals are in Republican states, so you'd think that this might be a bit of priority for their senators and representatives. But setting up $1.5 trillion in tax cuts to the rich seems to be more important.