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Boehner Thanked for Opposing Funding Cut to Medicare Beneficiaries

Congressman Expresses Concern Over Looming Skilled Nursing Facility Funding Cut

COLUMBUS, Ohio, June 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Ohio Health Care Association (OHCA) and the American Health Care Association (AHCA) today praised Ohio Congressman and Republican Leader John Boehner (R-West Chester) for advancing the growing bipartisan effort in Congress to prevent the Bush Administration from moving forward with regulatory-driven cuts to seniors' Medicare Part A nursing home funding - cuts that will result in Ohio seniors losing $45million in the year ahead.

Congressman Boehner issued a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Mike Leavitt which expresses his concern that high-quality skilled nursing care for America's seniors will be threatened if the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) moves forward with an administrative proposal that would cut $770 million in Medicare funding for skilled nursing facility (SNF) care in 2009 and more than $4 billion over the next five years.

"We thank Congressman Boehner for opposing these cuts because seniors' care needs will be shortchanged and our state economy and jobs base will be damaged," stated Peter Van Runkle, Executive Director of OHCA. "The Bush Administration's proposed Medicare cuts not only threaten Ohio seniors' access to quality care throughout the state, but will also negatively impact our state's economy and local employment base."

"It is highly significant that Congressman Boehner, as Republican Leader, has joined the growing effort to speak out and oppose the Administration's Medicare funding reductions, and we thank him for doing so," said Bruce Yarwood, President and CEO of AHCA. "His support further demonstrates how members of the President's own party have objectively evaluated how these cuts will hurt their state's Medicare beneficiaries, and are now acting upon that determination to protect their elderly constituents."

The Boehner letter to Secretary Leavitt states that "On average, SNFs lose $13 per day in caring for Medicaid patients. With that in mind, the substantial reduction to the Medicare payments will have an even greater impact on a SNFs ability to provide quality care. Given that both Medicare and Medicaid overlap and impact the type of care provided to aging seniors, it's important that payment policies for both programs properly reflect innovative and high quality care."

The letter goes on to state that: "The administration should be commended for its previous support for policies that moved many high acuity patients into SNFs. While these patients may have otherwise been cared for in higher cost facilities, the success of these policies helped to save Medicare $709 million in 2006 alone."

The full text of Boehner's letter is available at

The Ohio Health Care Association is a non-profit association of nearly 700 skilled nursing facilities, assisted living residences, and facilities for people with mental retardation and developmental disabilities, caring for 59,000 Ohioans. It is the largest long-term care association in the state, and the only chartered Ohio affiliate of the American Health Care Association, representing 12,000 long-term care facilities nationwide.

SOURCE Ohio Health Care Association
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