The Senate's healthcare proposal is barely a day old, and the senior community is sounding the alarm. Aside from the big multi-million hits to hospitals, are seemingly little cuts that have potentially big consequences: a $4 million cut to home care for the elderly, and a $5 million elimination for Alzheimer's programs. Advocates say Florida has over 500,000 residents suffering from Alzheimer's (more than any state except California), and Alzheimer's cases are expected to rise 40 percent in the next 15 years in Florida.
Then there's a $7 million cut to food-for-seniors in the line item "Local Service Programs." It looks like a total elimination. Expect the senior centers in Hialeah and Little Havana to inflame Miami radio and spur the Dade delegation to do something. Also, this budget is like the past decade or so of parade-of-horribles health budgets that gin up the provider community and put pressure on lawmakers to shake more lose from the money tree. Problem is, the tree is almost bare.