Preventing Medicaid Cuts Stands as Highest Priority in Final Days of the 112th Congress
Look to full entitlement reform before enacting more haphazard cuts, Parkinson says
Washington, D.C. – The American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living today announced its legislative priorities as Congress wraps up its work in the final days leading up to the election. Chief among them is the Association’s continued push to protect Medicaid funding, particularly provider assessments. The Association also highlighted the latest congressional push to forgo sequestration cuts to Medicare.
“As Congress attempts to complete its work prior to Election Day, we want to make our views known and clear: Medicaid cuts threaten our most vulnerable seniors. It’s just that simple and stark,” said Gov. Mark Parkinson, President & CEO of AHCA/NCAL. “We understand Medicaid is a significant component in any budget debate. Cuts to Medicaid do not mean a healthy Medicaid; not if that’s the only remedy Congress is considering. We need to take a larger view to fixing what ails this program – a hard look at reforming the system.”
In the coming weeks, AHCA/NCAL will be on Capitol Hill, in the states, and on the airwaves pushing its messages. In addition to skilled nursing, the programs Congress is considering would also impact the 750,000 residents in today’s assisted living centers. Specifically, the Association will be working with its congressional allies on the following legislative issues:
• Provider assessments – Provider taxes are tax revenues paid by providers and used by states to help finance their Medicaid program—46 states and the District of Columbia currently employ provider taxes in some form to help pay for the nonfederal share of their Medicaid program.
• Sequestration – All Medicare providers will suffer a 2% cut under the sequestration law enacted last year. Cuts to the skilled nursing profession amount to approximately $740 million to providers in just one year.
• Extending therapy caps - Rehabilitative therapies for many under the Medicare Part B program could be threatened if Congress fails to extend the “exceptions process” for beneficiaries who exceed the cap on Part B therapy this year. Residents rely on that therapy to regain their independence and return home.
• Observation stays – Medicare beneficiaries’ access to skilled nursing care is potentially threatened by the increased use of observation stays in hospitals, which prevents patients from reaching the three-day stay threshold for Medicare coverage. Reps. Courtney (D-CT), Latham (R-IA) and Sens. Kerry (D-MA) and Snowe (R-ME) have introduced legislation to address these concerns.
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.