Friday, November 9, 2012

Caregiver Concerns about the Election: What a second term for Obama could mean for this demographic



The results are in and America has spoken; Barack Obama will now be in office for another four years. Anxiety levels have been running high as many Americans voice their concerns about the proposed campaigns and the Election's outcome.  

Agingcare.com released a poll prior to the election asking over 600 hundred caregivers. "Which election issue do you think will affect caregivers the most?". The results revealed that about 87 percent of caregiver's were concerned with three main topics: Medicare and Medicaid, health care reform, and the economy. 

31.78% of caregivers felt distress over the matter of Medicare and Medicaid coverage
Each state is now required to set up new insurance exchanges, which will allow millions of households and small businesses to shop for private insurance coverage. This will lead to an expansion of eligibility for the Medicaid program.  It is expected that over 30 million uninsured Americans will gain coverage by this law. Half of these people will have access to the private insurance, while the other half will be covered by an expansion of Medicare. Many seniors and caregivers rely on these programs to help pay for medical care. The question here is, can Medicare and Medicaid get hospitals and doctors to provide more care to a growing population at a cheaper rate without negative outcomes for it's patients?  

28.31% of caregivers are concerned with the Health Care Reform
The main concern with the Health Care reform is the affect it may have on the quality and access of medical care. With a proposed $716 billion spending reduction for Medicare that will take place over the next ten years. This cut does not directly affect the coverage offered to current Medicare patients, but it does reduce the payments Medicare will be able to make to hospitals and doctors. Although this is seen as problematic, the positive side is that more people will be insured, which could result in hospitals having a reduction in the number of unpaid bills. 

26.94% of caregivers are worried about the economy
AARP conducted a survey in 2007, calculating that on average families would pay $5,531 in expenses to provide care for a loved one. Many economic factors such as inflation and the unemployment rate,  will have a direct affect on caregivers ability to provide for their loved ones. With Obama's re-election, his economic focus centers on the growth of the middle class. To accomplish this, he proposes extending Bush-era tax cuts for individuals making less than $200,000 a year.  

Although many policies are still vague, and our journey to restoring America's economy has just begun, we can look forward to the expansion of coverage for Americans who have been denied equal access to healthcare.

"This month and throughout the year, let the quiet perseverance of our family caregivers remind us of the decency and kindness to which we can all aspire." 
President Barack Obama, 2011's NFC Proclamation

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