Statement of Bruce Yarwood, President & CEO, The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL)
Regarding reports that President Bush’s FY 2009 proposed budget is expected to include cuts to critical Medicare and Medicaid funding
“Reports that the Bush Administration’s proposed budget for FY 2009 will not include a Medicare market basket update for the care of America’s oldest, sickest nursing home residents is disappointing – and disregards the specific policy guidance offered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which, just months ago, said a funding update is necessary to promote ‘program efficiency, quality and sustainability.’
“These cuts are a particular concern since Medicaid payments for long term care are likely to shrink in states that are hard-hit by the economic downturn, which Congress is seeking to ameliorate in its economic stimulus package. Consumers deserve the highest quality care and services across the spectrum of health care settings, and employees deserve well-paid, positive work environments. As long term care providers, it is our responsibility to provide that level of care to our patients, and to ensure we have the well-trained staff to provide such care. The Administration’s budget, however, severely undermines our ability to continue doing so.
“The government also has a great share of this responsibility, and we urge policy makers to recognize that without fair and appropriate Medicare and Medicaid payments for care and services, they are jeopardizing the health care needs of our nation’s most frail, vulnerable and disabled citizens. Therefore, any budget that cuts Medicare or Medicaid for long term care is short-sighted, and not in the best interest of consumers or America’s workers.”
The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represent more than 13,000 non-profit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub-acute centers and homes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. By delivering solutions for quality care, AHCA/NCAL aims to improve the lives of the millions of frail, elderly and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our member facilities each day. For more information, please visit www.ahca.org or www.ncal.org.