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Joint Statement from AHCA, NCAL, and the Alliance on the Obama Administration's FY 2010 Budget

WASHINGTON, May 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a joint statement from Bruce Yarwood, President and CEO of the American Health Care Association (AHCA), Dave Kyllo, Executive Director of the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) and Alan G. Rosenbloom, President of the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care:

We strongly support the Obama Administration's commitment to creating new jobs and spurring economic growth, and we also look forward to working with Administration officials to reform the health care system. We believe that two aspects of the Administration's FY 2010 budget, if implemented, will actually cut important health care jobs, destabilize the long term care sector, and, by extension, place seniors' ongoing access to quality care at risk.

First, by including in its FY 2010 budget a Medicare regulation first proposed by the Bush Administration -- which the Administration's budget indicates would cut seniors' Medicare funding by approximately $840 million in FY 2010 and by $7.23 billion over five years -- the new Administration undercuts the intent of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The Bush-era regulation, promulgated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), will sidetrack our ongoing ability to create good-paying health jobs in a sector extremely well-positioned to do so, undermine seniors' future access to quality care and services in the setting of their choice, and place at risk the health care delivery reforms now already making Medicare more efficient for patients, and more accountable to taxpayers.

Second, the inclusion of Medicare "post-acute bundling" in the FY 2010 budget represents a sweeping, untested policy alteration that could lead to unintended, negative consequences for elderly beneficiaries, front line care staff, and the entire post-acute and long-term care sector. Prior to moving from a theoretical status to actual implementation in a manner that will actually impact the lives and health of seniors, far more testing and objective analysis is required. We believe a more cautious approach to post-acute payment reform makes sense. Our plan to proceed in this manner is available for view here.

Third, we are alarmed any FY 2010 budget that cuts Medicare funding will be especially damaging to seniors in the many states across the nation who have already endured, or will soon face, substantial Medicaid funding cuts as a result of recent state legislative actions. Medicare and Medicaid funding are inextricably linked, and the combination of cuts to both programs squeezes facilities in a manner harmful to Medicare beneficiaries' care needs, our local economies and our caregiver jobs base.

In the final analysis, we strongly support the Obama Administration's overall health care reform objectives, and intend to be constructive moving forward in pointing out how to best pass a law that protects every U.S. senior's access to quality care and services -- and delivers it in the most efficient manner possible.

SOURCE American Health Care Association
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