Proposed cuts worry seniors

May 27, 2009 11:51:21 AM PDT
Thousands of health care jobs could be eliminated and seniors and the disabled could be left struggling to find care if proposed budget cuts become reality. That was the cry of some who work with hospice and home care Wednesday at the Legislature.

They say a proposed $55 million cut from a North Carolina Medicaid program serving seniors and the disabled would leave at least 15,000 home care workers unemployed, and leave some 20,000 they care for having to move into pricier nursing homes or go to hospitals for their care.

"It would devastate most communities across North Carolina because people who have been able to keep their loved ones at home would now have to look at alternative methods of caring for them, and usually the only option is putting them in a nursing home," offered registered nurse Anessa Williams.

The news conference was held by Tim Rogers, Chief Executive Officer of the Association for Home and Hospice Care of North Carolina, Sen. Debbie Clary, Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield and Rep. Pearl Burris-Floyd.

The group said in-home care costs about 700 dollars a month for a family, while nursing homes can cost thousands.

"When you look at the dollars and cents of what it costs to actually keep someone at home as opposed to taking someone and putting them in a nursing home, there's no comparison," said Williams.

The North Carolina Senate's version of the budget includes the cuts to the Medicaid program. Opponents say they hope the House budget will reinstate the money.

Lawmakers are struggling to find ways to balance the budget. North Carolina faces about a $4 billion budget deficit.


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