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December 11, 2012 > Sequestration (really) hurts

Sequestration (really) hurts

Submitted By Patricia Osage

What a wonky word; sequestration. I didn't even know what it was until recently and now I want you to know because unless you are in the top - and I mean really top - percentage of earners, it will probably impact you or someone you care for.

Sequestration basically means mandatory cuts to federal programs - sealing off money that was authorized by Congress but is now prohibited from being spent. Literally, the money is being "sequestered" or taken from the targeted federal agencies.

Looming today on the D.C. horizon is one of the biggest sequestrations of all time: $1.2 trillion in mandatory cuts - half from the military, half from domestic programs. This is the very last thing our country needs right now in the midst of our ever-so-tenuous, stop-and-go road to economic recovery. If Congress allows this to go into effect, $1,800,427 will be taken away from home delivered meals to homebound seniors in California alone. In the Tri-City, we at LIFE ElderCare deliver 350 meals every day to some of your most vulnerable neighbors- maybe to you, or your mom or dad. Right now 16.48% of our state's seniors are experiencing or are at risk of malnutrition.

But here's the problem, any "savings" from this sequester would quickly be seen as trivial when compared to the added costs that would assuredly result in premature nursing home placement for thousands of seniors. What's cheaper? What's easier? Keep a senior in their home and bring them a nutritious meal every day or place them in a nursing home because they can no longer cook for themselves? These cuts would also place greater financial strains on family caregivers and drive higher medical costs due to elders' poorer nutrition and health, increased falls, and other avoidable crises. Did you know that a full year of Meals on Wheels for a senior cots approximately same amount spent in one day in a standard California nursing home? Did you know that the leading cause of fatal injuries in Alameda County for those aged 55-100. Falls are also the leading cause of nonfatal injuries coming in at a staggering 2,966 each year in your county. Spending a relatively tiny amount on basic, user-friendly Fall Prevention Programs and home-delivered nutritious meals can save incalculable amounts of public tax dollars at both the State and Federal levels.

Senior population rates are skyrocketing and instead of cutting back now, we need to be ramping up with a well thought out spending plan that gives everyone their biggest, most effective ROI for every tax dollar they spend. The automatic wiping away of funding scheduled for Jan 3rd if parties cannot agree on how to do so. This indecision will cause some of the worst debt and job loss we've seen in our lifetime (yes, including 2008).

Now that you know what sequestration is or maybe you knew already (heck, maybe everyone else know but me), please print out or cut out this article and send it to your representative right away. To find out who your rep is, go to and you can just enter your zip code. Thank you for caring enough to make your voice heard on behalf of many!

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