Nursing Homes Fear Congressional Medicaid Cuts

The nursing home industry is concerned about pending Medicaid cuts following the Congressional changeover.

A Republican-controlled House is unlikely to extend the enhanced Medicaid funding for states in last year’s Recovery Act, the head of a nursing home trade association said Monday.

A return to the initial federal share would be particularly painful for nursing homes and assisted living facilities, who rely on Medicaid to pay about two-thirds of their patients’ bills.  “Everybody wants the government to pay without raising taxes and that’s not possible,” explains Jesse Slome, director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.  “As people understand Medicaid doesn’t pay or forces you to into unacceptable situations, more will see the value in private insurance.”

At a roundtable discussion in Washington, Bruce Yarwood, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association, said the situation will force a discussion on long-term care, which he said was hardly addressed during the healthcare reform debate.

As lawmakers respond to voters’ concerns about the deficit and cut back on Medicaid and Medicare, a long-term care sector that relies on government spending to cover about 85 percent of its patients faces a crossroads.

Looking ahead, I have to say I am concerned about the significant wrangling we already see developing between the state and federal governments in regard to Medicaid and the federal healthcare reform law, Yarwood stated.

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