As tough economic times wear on, states are increasingly putting in-home care services on the chopping block even though such programs typically yield cost savings long-term.

In recent years, 25 states and the District of Columbia have cut programs designed to help those with disabilities and elderly Americans stay in their homes. The programs, which provide services ranging from meal delivery to in-home assistance and respite services for caregivers, are lifelines for people who otherwise may be forced into nursing homes, advocates say.

But for every dollar saved when a state slashes in-home care costs, lawmakers are likely to be on the hook for several more dollars down the line as individuals once capable of living in the community enter costly nursing homes. In Oregon, for example, nursing homes average $5,900 a month versus just $1,500 for assistance in the community.

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State lawmakers have the flexibility to cut in-home care, but they are required to maintain funding for nursing home services as a condition for federal Medicaid funding.

Advocates worry that today’s cuts could only be the beginning as they anticipate a slow economic recovery for state treasuries, reports The New York Times. To read more click here.

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