Raise assisted living rates for the ‘silver tsunami’

The OlympianMarch 3, 2014 

About 8,000 baby boomers will turn 65 every day for the next two decades. Many will need long-term care. Updating Medicaid rates ensures we’ll have the facilities and home health aids to care for them.

FILE PHOTO

BOO: LOW MEDICAID RATES

State legislators should update assisted living Medicaid rates, which were cut by 6 percent recently and have not been updated in nearly a decade. The rates fell $100 million short in 2012 of fully covering the cost of thousands of people who rely on the Medicaid system to pay for long-term care services. And half of the state’s nursing homes lost money, according to Robin Dale, CEO of the Washingtion Health Care Association.

About 8,000 baby boomers will turn 65 every day for the next two decades. Many will need long-term care. Updating Medicaid rates ensures we’ll have the facilities and home health aids to care for them.

YAY: GRANT FOR PTSD

Troops may be coming home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the need to help wounded active-duty and veteran service members and their families will continue for decades. For that reason, we congratulate Rainier Therapeutic Riding for winning a grant from Masco Corp. The company, which now owns Milgard Windows & Doors is giving more than $1 million to 50 service-based organizations.

Rainier Therapeutic Riding helps wounded warriors heal from PTSD, brain injuries and other challenges through horsemanship. It’s been a successful program for several years, and this grant will help them expand their aid to soldiers.

BOO: LONG COUNCIL MEETINGS

The Olympia City Council has many important issues to decide, and it does so thoughtfully. But quite often that thought process takes a long time. Last week’s meeting, for example, was pushing toward midnight.

Such long meetings cloud government transparency because citizens go home to bed. Council members apparently need less sleep — or drink more coffee.

BOO: ANTI-GAY LAWS

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer thankfully vetoed an anti-gay bill passed by a majority of that state’s legislators. We hope the national criticism of Arizona’s bill will influence lawmakers in other states considering similar measures.

It’s surprising, but one of those other states could be ours. Yes, conservative senators introduced a bill last year similar to the Arizona measure. Senate Bill 5927 would have allowed Washington businesses to refuse service to the LGBT community based on religious beliefs.

Let’s hope our state legislators learned the Arizona lesson.

BOO: COFFEE SHORTAGE

If you haven’t gotten on the climate-change bandwagon yet, this news may cause you to jump. A severe drought in Brazil is threatening a worldwide shortage of coffee and driving up prices. If it happens, a global infestation of grumpy people in the morning could occur.

YAY: SENSE OF HUMOR

Former President George W. Bush is having a gallery showing of his paintings at his presidential library. The dozen never-seen-before portraits depict “dogs, landscapes and himself in the shower.” Hmmm. Not sure what to make of that last one.

Anyway, the former leader of the free world has a good attitude about people’s surprise that he paints. “Of course, some people are surprised I can even read,” he said.

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