Mike Peterson, Grand Forks, letter: Patients, pocketbooks prefer home-based careToo often, people are placed in institutions when home-based or assisted-living care would suffice and would keep them in the presence of their friends and family.
By: Mike Peterson,
GRAND FORKS — Republicans have dominated North Dakota state government for as long as I can remember. But what happened to fiscal conservatism?
If Republicans really want to prove their conservative beliefs, then I have a proposal to make.
As someone who values freedom dearly, I believe there is a way to both maximize freedom and save big money for the state.
Our state has an overwhelming instuitional bias: In other words, our policies are designed to keep senior citizens and people with disabilities in institutions such as nursing homes.
While the care provided by nurses and others in nursing homes might be top-notch, patients must sacrifice by giving up their independence — and in many cases, their happiness.
And too often, people are placed in institutions when home-based or assisted-living care would suffice and would keep them in the presence of their friends and family. Nine times out of ten when people have a choice, they choose to be around friends and family in a assisted-living environment.
Our state pays nursing homes much more than it does for home-based care. And it does so even though home-based care is dramatically cheaper and would save the state millions of dollars a year: On average, it costs $78,000 a year per person to stay in a nursing home while community care costs about $12,000 a year.
The only issue is this: The nursing-home lobby in North Dakota is so strong that few politicians have the courage to “buck the system,” so to speak. But if one day, someone should take the torch of leadership and stand for freedom and fiscal conservatism, then that person will get this and many other voters’ unwavering support.