What does an electric drill have to do with Medicaid?

ganddaughter learning to embroider with granny

I remember a story about the CEO of Black & Decker.  I do not know if it is a true story, but I believe that I read about it in a Steve Jobs biography.  According to the story, the CEO told a gathering of company workers and executives that Black & Decker had sold more than a million cordless electric drills during the last sales period and that not one of them was sold to someone who wanted to buy a drill.  The audience was puzzled.  How could this be?  How did we sell so may drills to people who did not want a drill?  The CEO then explained that the customers did not want a drill, they wanted a hole.

So what does this story have to do with Medicaid?  Well, I have yet to meet a client who says “I want to go on Medicaid.”  Rather, they have reached a point in their life where they recognize that they cannot safely remain in their home due to a physical or cognitive deficit, so they need to move into a nursing home for care.  Medicaid is just the means to pay for it.  In fact, Medicaid pays for the cost of care of a substantial percentage of the long-term care patients that are nursing homes today.

Medicaid is in the news a great deal lately.  The federal government encouraged the states to expand Medicaid eligibility as part of the Affordable Care Act (sometimes called Obamacare), and many states did so.  Kentucky was one of them.  The health care legislation currently pending in the U.S. Senate seeks to make several changes in Medicaid.  Jordan Rau has written a very interesting article that discusses the possible effects of the proposed changes to the delivery of long-term care services in nursing homes.  You can read the article in the New York Times at https://nyti.ms/2u1xBgp .

I confess that I probably have something in common with your senator when it comes to the pending legislation: I have not read the entire bill.  I doubt your senator has either.  I suspect that there are some things in the bill that have merit.  I also suspect that there a lot of things that were thrown in there to try to check off a box on a political promise, without considering the real world effect of following through on the promise.  I think it is useful for every citizen to learn more about the challenges that families face when it comes to the cost of long-term care, no matter where you may stand on the political spectrum, and offer the article on that basis.