Home care suffers as states cut into Medicaid

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Budget shortfalls in at least 15 states have led to severe reductions in funding for services for low-income seniors and those with disabilities, according to a news report.

The cuts, which focus primarily on home-care for elderly "shut-ins," are putting extra pressure on states to offer these services, The Wall Street Journal reported. Long wait lists for home care services are growing even longer and in some cases, as in Florida, have doubled since last year. Industry insiders say they expect the cuts to only get worse, according to the Journal.

The budget cuts hit this vulnerable population particularly hard. In recent years, Medicaid has shifted resources away from institutional care to home-based care to limit expenditures, the Journal reported. In 2006, Medicaid spent about $47 billion on nursing home care compared with $15 billion on home- and community-based care.