I don’t know anyone who doesn’t believe that hospice is a good idea. The medical and emotional support offered by hospice workers to the terminally ill and their families is invaluable. And thanks to the Affordable Care Act, hospice is going away. Michigan Hospice of Holland is closing their doors. Their executive director explains:
The biggest issue under the Affordable Care Act is…that we’re going to see cuts in reimbursement- it’s going to be at least 12 percent. We projected out what those cuts are going to do to the organization long term and we realized that in a short period of time, we’re going to be pulling money from our savings in order to keep the house open…”
Is this what we were promised with Obamacare? Less care for those who need it most? Kristina Ribali, at IJReview, calls this situation “heartbreaking:”
Five years ago, I watched the greatest woman I’d ever known, my mother, pass away before my eyes. We knew she was quite ill, and I worked with her to make sure her affairs were in order for her final days. One of her last requests to me was not to allow her to die in a hospital.
When you’re tasked with helping someone complete their dying wish, the last thing in the world you want to do is let them down. Without Hospice, I would not have been able to navigate the chaos unfolding before my eyes. The doctors, hospital staff, technicians, etc. all needed answers and action, and I was in no condition to go it alone. I cannot imagine what I’d have done without them, but now, families in Michigan unfortunately may have to.
In September of 2013, President Obama had this to say about the Affordable Care Act:
A few years from now, when people are using this to get coverage and everybody is feeling pretty good about all the choices and competition that they’ve got, there are going to be a whole bunch of folks who say, yes, I always thought this provision was excellent. I voted for that thing. You watch… If you’ve got a serious idea for making the Affordable Care Act better, or making our broader health care system better, I’m happy to work with you — because that’s what the majority of the American people want. They don’t want posturing; they want governing. They don’t want politics; they want us to work together to make the lives of ordinary Americans a little bit better, a little bit more secure.
So, is the closing of hospice care going to make the lives of Americans a little bit better? I don’t think so.