SERIES: Healthcare in America #16, Miriam L. Helbok, This Is the Bronx

This is part of an ongoing series that gives Bronx writers a chance to share their personal stories on the state of healthcare in America.

by Miriam Levine Helbok, September 16, 2018

I witnessed first-hand the last years of an aunt’s life in an excellent nursing home in the Bronx and the last years of my mother’s life with 24/7 care at home, also in the Bronx. During the last decade I have been paying upwards of $5,000 annually for long-term-care insurance for myself. What I saw and have experienced have convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt of the vital necessity for implementing a single-payer government-run system of health insurance in New York State as well as the nation as a whole.

My aunt entered what is now known as the Methodist Home for Nursing and Rehabilitation in the late 1990s, when she was in her late 80s. At that time, as I recall, the monthly fee was between $6,000 and $7,000. When my aunt’s $100,000 in savings were used up, Medicaid paid for her stay in the home. She had her own room, as did all the other residents, and got excellent care until her death, in her late 90s. I imagine that by that time, the monthly fee was even higher.

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