Momentum Against Mandates: U.S. House Ways And Means Committee Advances The Protecting America’s Seniors’ Access To Care Act

Senators King and Cramer Introduce Additional Legislation

Advocacy; Regulations; Legislative
​​​WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) released the following statement following the passage of the Protecting America's Seniors' Access to Care Act (H.R. 7513) in the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee. The bill, first introduced by U.S. Representative Michelle Fischbach (R-MN-07), would prevent the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from finalizing its proposed federal staffing mandate for nursing homes.

“We applaud members of the committee for prioritizing our nation's seniors and advancing this important legislation," said Clif Porter, senior vice president of Government Relations at AHCA/NCAL. “The blanket, unfunded mandate that CMS intends to impose on nursing homes will be detrimental to our most vulnerable citizens, especially in our rural and underserved communities. This rule will do nothing to improve quality or grow our workforce, but instead displace hundreds of thousands of residents. We are eager to work with Members of Congress and the Administration on more constructive policies and programs that will help nursing homes recruit and retain a strong pipeline of caregivers."

The bill was co-sponsored by 35 U.S. Representatives. AHCA/NCAL led a coalition of more than 1,000 organizations urging support of the legislation. The bipartisan U.S. Senate companion bill was introduced by Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Deb Fischer (R-NE), and co-sponsored by Senators Roger Marshall (R-KS), James Lankford (R-OK), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Angus King (I-ME).

New Bipartisan Legislation in the Senate

Bipartisan opposition to the proposed federal staffing mandate continues to grow, as Members of Congress express concern about the negative impact on access to care. Last week, Senators Angus King (I-ME) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND), members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, introduced legislation that would require the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to conduct a study on the risks of the proposed rule issued by CMS. Maine in particular has seen widespread nursing home closures. In the last 10 years, 23 facilities have permanently shut down, and another closure was announced just this week. Senator King said in a statement on the bill:

“It is one thing to create a policy tha​t looks good on paper, but it is quite another to examine the effects that policy has on the day-to-day lives of Maine veterans … While the CMS rule aims to improve the quality of long-term care for veterans by increasing staffing requirements, this one-size-fits-most policy could cause facilities in rural areas to shut down. This bill will allow us to take a closer look at the impact that the proposed CMS rule would have on VA and VA affiliated nursing homes so we can best protect access to long-term care options for veterans in Maine."

Read what Members of Congress, policy experts and long term care advocates are saying in opposition to the federal staffing mandate HERE.