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AHCA, Alliance Praise Bipartisan Johnson, Collins Letter Urging Rejection of Bush Medicare Cuts
Date:3/3/2008

y improvement, this budget would be devastating to the ability of nursing homes to sustain those improvements. Senators Johnson and Collins merit strong praise for getting this necessary effort to fix the budget underway."

The new Johnson-Collins letter to Senators Conrad and Gregg states: Despite the growing demand for long term care, the existing financing mechanisms for Medicare and Medicaid are intertwined and increasingly dysfunctional. Medicare and Medicaid funding comprise the vast majority of all skilled nursing facility (SNF) payments. The Administration's cuts are especially egregious when the drastic underfunding of Medicaid-financed SNF care is considered. For 2007, SNFs received $4.4 billion less than needed to cover the costs of providing care to Medicaid patients according to BDO Seidman. However, the Administration's FY 09 budget fails to account for this perilous situation, which will only worsen as state economies continue to decline, since it calls for nearly $24 billion in cuts to Medicare SNF funding over five years.

In urging their Senate colleagues to join their effort opposing the proposed Medicare cuts, Senators Johnson and Collins note that approximately 80 percent of nursing home patients rely on Medicare and Medicaid to pay for their long term care, and, "given that the fastest growing segment of our population are those 85 and older, our nation's need for long term care will continue to increase significantly."

In addition to thanking U.S. Representatives Shelley Berkley (D-NV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) for issuing a similar letter last week to House Budget Committee Chair John Spratt (D-SC) and Ranking Member Paul Ryan (R-WI) asking them to rescind the proposed Medicare cuts, Yarwood and Rosenbloom also pointed to new data from Zogby International showing 63 percent of likely voters oppose the Medicare cuts while a strong plurality, 45 percent, "strongly oppose" the Administration's proposal.

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SOURCE American Health Care Association
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