Build Back Better for Seniors

Biden’s Build Back Better Act is currently undergoing an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office before heading to the Senate for passage. The law includes some great improvements to health care especially nursing homes.

Staffing in Nursing Homes

Provisions that increase staffing will increase quality of care in the industry. Nursing homes will need a registered nurse present 24 hours per day. This is a needed change from the current federal minimum requirement of only eight hours per facility.

Industry lobbyists American Health Care Association whines that the industry needs to hire an additional 171,000 workers to comply with the law. This is not that much considering the industry lost 221,000 jobs between March 2020 and October 2021. Evidence proves that unsafe staffing contributed to over 186,000 deaths in long-term care facilities.

Increased Benefits

More than 25 million Medicare patients with hearing loss will get coverage for hearing aids. Drug benefits get better reducing what patients pay for medicines. A monthly $35 cap for insulin. An annual drug spending limit of $2,000. More than 2.5 million Medicare patients pay more than that now.

Lower Drug Prices

The legislation would allow Medicare to regulate the price of prescription drugs. This will lower pharmacy costs for residents. The details of that plan were negotiated but the current version still represents a significant change in drug prices. For example, the law limits annual arbitrary drug prices by pharmaceutical companies. This will lower premiums and co-payments for Americans with private health insurance.

Home Health

The law would expand funding for home health care. 800,000 older and disabled Americans reman on waiting lists to get care in their community instead of in nursing homes. No one wants to go to a nursing home if they can live at home with Home Health help.

Medicaid Expansion

The law offers affordable health insurance options to poor adults in 12 states that refuse to expand Medicaid programs. The law provides access to free plans under the Affordable Care Act.