Friday morning the Kansas Association of Area Agencies on Aging & Disabilities will hold a rally in Topeka protesting the governor’s order to cut Senior Care Act (SCA) in-home services by $2.1 million, 30 percent.
Jay Rowh, president of the Kansas Silver Haired Legislature, notes that the immediate savings to match Kansas revenue shortfalls will cost a lot more in the long run.
A low-income senior may receive an average of $200 to $250 a month in SCA assistance for everyday living activities such as light housekeeping, bathing, medicine monitoring and laundry. That may be all that is needed to allow the senior to stay in his or her own home, instead of moving to a Kansas nursing home, where the average cost is $4,000 per month.
“For a person to receive SCA services, they must meet financial qualifications. Therefore, if they are forced to move to a nursing home, they would most likely move into the Medicaid program, which means the care would be paid by the Kansas Medicaid Program (KanCare),” Rowh said.
We’ve seen other examples of false economy in Kansas. While states around us saw growth in construction employment, Kansas lost 3,400 construction jobs in the past year and ranks 49th in the nation. Bob Totten, executive vice president of the Kansas Contractors Association, blamed the low ranking on large cuts in state spending on bridge and road work.
Budget cuts can have unintended consequences, but often those consequences should come as no surprise.