Wednesday, April 24, 2024

LETTER: Seniors and caretakers deserve fully funded Medicaid

| February 14, 2024 2:23 PM

I am the assisted living facility administrator of a small, nonprofit facility called The Cambridge, which is the only long-term care center serving Columbia Basin seniors in the Quincy area. I take great pride in helping meet the needs of seniors in the end-of-life transition with dignity, honor and service. But the state’s underfunding of Medicaid puts that quality of care at risk as it’s nearly impossible to offer competitive wages to workers. While deeply rewarding, caring for our seniors is often difficult and draining work deserving of more than minimum wage.

The state currently only pays 79% of the Medicaid hourly wages needed to care for a beneficiary in assisted living, threatening the financial stability of our facility. As state lawmakers draft and consider their budgets this month, I urge them to fully fund Medicaid at 100% for the sake of our community’s seniors and their care providers.

Many of our residents started their families and careers here when the water came in and they desire to remain here until life’s end. Even low-income seniors who rely on Medicaid should have the right and ability to live life where they want and near family.

Increasing Medicaid funding is essential to reducing the potential of facilities like mine from having to limit services or worse, close our doors, which would then force these seniors to move to other parts of the state.

Lawmakers need to show our seniors they care about their care. These are our parents, grandparents and neighbors and they deserve 100%, not 79%.

Linzi Michel