A reader writes:
I'm flabbergasted by this comment from Kilgore: "Medicare beneficiaries are the very core of the GOP's political base at present; Medicaid beneficiaries decidedly are not." Certainly, most Medicaid beneficiaries - poor women and children - are not the core Republican constituency. But most Medicaid dollars are spent on the disabled and elderly.
And, if Republicans in Washington are going to gut that portion of Medicaid, which is where they must to save any real money, they'll have another core constituency that's upset - Republican governors, who will be the ones being chased by elderly and disabled constituents denied access to acute and long-term care. Republicans in DC may want to go that route, but it's not likely to be a successful one, either financially or politically.
Medicaid (not Medicare) is by far the largest payer for nursing home care and long term care for the elderly, totaling around $140 billion in 2010.
Medicaid pays 40% of the bills for nursing home services, and over half of the nursing home beds in the US are occupied by Medicaid recipients. See this report (PDF) from the Kaiser Family Foundation for more facts about Medicaid.
Old people benefit about as much the poor, making extensive Medicaid cuts problematical for the party of old people.
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