A front page story in the February 14, 2008 USA Today says government spending for seniors “soared to a record $27,289 per senior in 2007.”
The newspaper’s analysis of government figures drew four key conclusions, and one of them is that long-term care costs per senior have actually declined over the past three years “because of a move away from nursing homes to less-expensive home care.”
Of course, numerous studies have drawn the conclusion that durable medical equipment and other types of homecare equipment and services deliver very cost-effective care and keep seniors out of the emergency rooms, hospitals, and other more expensive settings, which is why HHS Secretary Leavitt has called home-based care “radically” more efficient than institutional care.
Findings of the USA Today analysis include these points:
• Medicare experienced the most explosive growth from 2000 to 2007. The Medicare prescription drug benefit, started in 2006, accounts for about one-fourth of the increase in Medicare, which provides health benefits for people 65 and older.
• Long-term care costs per senior have declined slightly in the last three years because of a move away from nursing homes to less-expensive home care.
• The cost of senior benefits is equal to $10,673 for every non-senior household.
• About 35% of the federal budget is spent on senior benefits, up from 32% in 2004.
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