Will Your Senior Clients Be Harmed When Obamacare Is Repealed?
The short answer is “yes”, unless every one of them is high net worth. For those who are very wealthy, there will be no effect as they will pay out of pocket. However for any client who lives long enough to spend down everything and to get low on funds the effect will be palpable. Though neither party is talking about what happens to seniors of modest means with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act here’s the hidden truth.
Low income seniors who could not afford the high cost of long term care had no choice when they ran out of money except a nursing home. Until Congress passed legislation called Community First Choice (CFC), that is. This is a bipartisan supported program that is optional for states. It gives seniors and disabled people a choice to remain at home and supports family caregivers. If a state adopts CFC, it receives extra federal funding (6%) to pay for personal attendant services. This funding is critical. States who want CFC must make the initial investment in home and community-based services before they see savings over the long run.
According to the National Council on Aging, eight states have adopted it so far and at least four more are applying for it or are considering applying. With our growing senior population it is right to give elders a choice of not having to go to a nursing home, a fate many dread and fear.
Even though care at home is normally cheaper and better than nursing home care, there is still a bias in our Federal law that compels states to pay for nursing home care, but not home care. It makes no sense. The CFC is an effort to eliminate the bias in the law favoring nursing home care and promote doing what is better for our elders: allowing them a way to pay for home care using family to provide it with financial support.
Repealing the ACA will de-fund this successful CFC program.
The Republican Platform states: “Our aging population must have access to safe and affordable care. Because most seniors desire to age at home, we will make homecare a priority in public policy and will implement programs to protect against elder abuse.”
Really? If this is a priority, how has a helpful program for seniors been ignored in the dialog about the necessity repeal Obamacare? And what about the millions of people ages 55-64 who need health insurance and can’t afford it? Expanded Medicaid and subsidies help them now. Those programs are on the chopping block in the oncoming rush to “cut government spending”.
The elder and disabled adults who need Community First Choice funding and all community based efforts to keep them out of nursing homes are not marching in the streets. They need total care or help to maintain themselves at home. They are not in the news. They are a population without a voice except by aging organizations who fought for CFC in the first place. Any client who spends a fortune on long term care over years and depletes her assets could end up needing Medicaid. Those are the most at risk folks. No matter how skilled you are no one can make money last forever for those who are less than high net worth.
Do not be fooled into thinking that those who relish the idea of quickly trashing Obamacare really are concerned about what happens to low income seniors. These seniors comprise a significant part of our population. The elders with modest means and modest savings who need long term care can’t pay for it. They are the ones being forced to go to a place they don’t want to be.
The Money Follows the Person Program, which assists states in making home and community-based services more widely available expired in October 2016. If Congress is throwing out all things related to the Affordable Care Act, what are the chances of renewing this program?
If you have aging clients who might live long enough to run out of funds, this will directly affect what happens with them. If you are planning for them for lifelong financial safety, consider that much of what formerly was in place to keep them out of nursing homes will likely be gone should they live to be 100 and are no longer wealthy. Be sure to keep in mind that nursing homes are about three times the cost of staying at home with care in place there.
China's Push Toward Excellence Delivers a Global Robotics Investment Opportunity
Written by: Jeremie Capron
China is on a mission to change its reputation from a manufacturer of cheap, mass-produced goods to a world leader in high quality manufacturing. If that surprises you, you’re not the only one.
For decades, China has been synonymous with the word cheap. But times are changing, and much of that change is reliant on the adoption of robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence, or RAAI (pronounced “ray”). For investors, this shift is driving a major opportunity to capture growth and returns rooted in China’s rapidly increasing demand for RAAI technologies.
You may have heard of ‘Made in China 2025,’ the strategy announced in 2015 by the central government aimed at remaking its industrial sector into a global leader in high-technology products and advanced manufacturing techniques. Unlike some public relations announcements, this one is much more than just a marketing tagline. Heavily subsidized by the Chinese government, the program is focused on generating major investments in automated manufacturing processes, also referred to as Industry 4.0 technologies, in an effort to drive a massive transformation across every sector of manufacturing. The program aims to overhaul the infrastructure of China’s manufacturing industry by not only driving down costs, but also—and perhaps most importantly—by improving the quality of everything it manufactures, from textiles to automobiles to electronic components.
Already, China has become what is arguably the most exciting robotics market in the world. The numbers speak for themselves. In 2016 alone, more than 87,000 robots were sold in the country, representing a year-over-year increase of 27%, according to the International Federation of Robotics. Last month’s World Robot Conference 2017 in Beijing brought together nearly 300 artificial intelligence (AI) specialists and representatives of over 150 robotics enterprises, making it one of the world’s largest robotics-focused conference in the world to date. That’s quite a transition for a country that wasn’t even on the map in the area of robotics only a decade ago.
As impressive as that may be, what’s even more exciting for anyone with an eye on the robotics industry is the fact that this growth represents only a tiny fraction of the potential for robotics penetration across China’s manufacturing facilities—and for investors in the companies that are delivering or are poised to deliver on the promise of RAAI-driven manufacturing advancements.
Despite its commitment to leverage the power of robotics, automation and AI to meet its aggressive ‘Made in China 2025’ goals, at the moment China has only 1 robot in place for every 250 manufacturing workers. Compare that to countries like Germany and Japan, where manufacturers utilize an average of one robot for every 30 human workers. Even if China were simply trying to catch up to other countries’ use of robotics, those numbers would signal immense near-term growth. But China is on a mission to do much more than achieve the status quo. The result? According to a recent report by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), in 2019 as much as 40% of the worldwide market volume of industrial robots could be sold in China alone.
To understand how the country can support such grand growth, just take a look at where and why robotics is being applied today. While the automotive sector has historically been the largest buyer of robots, China’s strategy reaches far and wide to include a wide variety of future-oriented manufacturing processes and industries.
Electronics is a key example. In fact, the electrical and electronics industry surpassed the automotive industry as the top buyer of robotics in 2016, with sales up 75% to almost 30,000 units. Assemblers such as Foxconn rely on thousands of workers to assemble today’s new iPhones. Until recently, the assembly of these highly delicate components required a level of human dexterity that robots simply could not match, as well as human vision to help ensure accuracy and quality. But recent advancements in robotics are changing all that. Industrial robots already have the ability to handle many of the miniature components in today’s smart phones. Very soon, these robots are expected to have the skills to bolster the human workforce, significantly increasing manufacturing capacity. Newer, more dexterous industrial robots are expected to significantly reduce human error during the assembly process of even the most fragile components, including the recently announced OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screens that Samsung and Apple introduced on their latest mobile devices including the iPhone X. Advancements in computer vision are transforming how critical quality checks are performed on these and many other electronic devices. All of these innovations are coming together at just the right time for a country that is striving to create the world’s most advanced manufacturing climate.
Clearly, China’s trajectory in the area of RAAI is in hyper drive. For investors who are seeking a tool to leverage this opportunity in an intelligent and perhaps unexpected way, the ROBO Global Robotics & Automation Index may help. The ROBO Index already offers a vast exposure to China’s potential growth due to the depth and breadth of the robotics and automation supply chain. As China continues to improve its manufacturing processes to meet its 2025 initiative, every supplier across China’s far-reaching supply chains will benefit. Wherever they are located, suppliers of RAAI-related components—reduction gears, sensors, linear motion systems, controllers, and so much more—are bracing for spikes in demand as China pushes to turn its dream into a reality.
Today, around 13% of the revenues generated by the ROBO Global Index members are driven by China’s investments in robotics and automation. Tomorrow? It’s hard to say. But one thing is for certain: China’s commitment to improving the quality and cost-efficiency of its manufacturing facilities is showing no signs of slowing down—and its reliance on robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence is vital to its success.
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