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Budget Committee Urged to Strongly Oppose Administration's Proposed $24 Billion, Five-Year Cuts to Medicare
Date:3/5/2008

76 House Champions Assert, "We are especially opposed to those cuts affecting long term care providers"

WASHINGTON, March 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Health Care Association (AHCA) today praised the seventy-six (76) members of the U.S. House of Representatives who have signed onto a letter led by Representatives Shelley Berkley (D-NV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) to House Budget Committee Chair John Spratt (D-SC) and Ranking Member Paul Ryan (R-WI), asking them to reject the five-year, $24 billion cuts to Medicare-financed nursing home care proposed in the Bush Administration's FY 2009 budget.

"The number of champions in Congress opposing these cuts in a consistent, effective, and bipartisan manner indicates the necessity to ensure that America's oldest seniors who require intensive skilled nursing care receive the vital care they need," stated Bruce Yarwood, President and CEO of AHCA. "This letter draws attention to the chronic Medicaid under funding crisis, which becomes still more problematic for patients and facilities when Medicare-funded nursing home care is cut in the manner proposed by the Bush Administration."

Representatives Berkley and Capito are spearheading efforts to rally support and encourage their colleagues to join them in opposing the Administration's proposed deep Medicare cuts. Among those who have signed on to the letter are: Ways and Means Health Subcommittee members Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Phil English (R-PA), Ron Kind (D-WI) and Jim Ramstad (R-MN) and Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee members Tom Allen (D-ME), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Lois Capps (D-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Tim Murphy (R-PA), Mike Ross (D-AR) and Ed Towns (D-NY).

Excerpts from the letter include:

"We are writing to urge the Budget Committee to strongly oppose cuts to Medicare and Medicaid in the Administration's Fiscal Year 2009 (FY 09) Budget. We are especially opposed to those cuts affecting long term care providers. We express our support for strengthening the Medicare and Medicaid programs, which care for our nation's poor, frail, elderly, and those with disabilities."

"Approximately 80% of nursing home patients rely on either Medicare or Medicaid to pay for their long term care. Given that the fastest growing segment of our population are those 85 and older, our nation's need for long term care is likely to increase significantly...Despite the growing demand for long term care, the existing financing mechanisms for Medicare and Medicaid are intertwined and increasingly dysfunctional."

"Ensuring adequate reimbursements will allow long term care professionals to continue providing seniors with the highest quality care in our nation's nearly 16,000 nursing homes."

The complete list of House signatories: Neil Abercrombie, Tom Allen, Michael Acuri, Tammy Baldwin, John Barrow, Shelley Berkley, Howard Berman, Madeleine Bordallo, Leonard Boswell, Rick Boucher, Vern Buchanan, G.K. Butterfield, Shelley Moore Capito, Lois Capps, Christopher Carney, William Lacy Clay, Stephen Cohen, John Conyers, Joe Courtney, Lloyd Doggett, Keith Ellison, Phil English, Anna Eshoo, Bob Etheridge, Sam Farr, Sam Graves, John Hall, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, Mazie Hirono, William Jefferson, E.B. Johnson, Steve Kagen, Patrick Kennedy, Ron Kind, James Langevin, John Larson, Sander Levin, Jerry Lewis, Ron Lewis, Dave Loebsack, Carolyn Maloney, Donald Manzullo, Edward Markey, Carolyn McCarthy, Betty McCollum, Gerald McNerney, Dennis Moore, Jerry Moran, Christopher Murphy, Tim Murphy, Richard Neal, Jim Oberstar, John Olver, Solomon Ortiz, Collin Peterson, David Price, Jim Ramstad, Mike Ross, John Salazar, Heath Shuler, Albio Sires, Zack Space, Vic Snyder, Bart Stupak, Ellen Tauscher, Todd Tiahrt, John Tierney, Ed Towns, Niki Tsongas, Chris Van Hollen, Tim Walz, Robert Wexler, Charlie Wilson, Heather Wilson, and Bill Young.

The American Health Care Association represents nearly 11,000 non-profit and proprietary facilities dedicated to continuous improvement in the delivery of professional and compassionate care provided daily by millions of caring employees to 1.5 million of our nation's frail, elderly and disabled citizens who live in nursing facilities, assisted living residences, subacute centers and homes for persons with mental retardation and developmental disabilities. For more information, please visit http://www.ahca.org.


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SOURCE American Health Care Association
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