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New Analysis of Bush FY 2009 Budget: Texas Medicare Cuts 4th Highest in Nation
Date:3/19/2008

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In meeting with state long term care leaders around the nation, Yarwood is encouraging state affiliates to help engender a more robust debate about long term care issues in the 2008 federal and state elections. "Despite the increased level of rancor we're now seeing in the presidential campaign, we are pleased that there is also an unusually substantive ongoing debate about health care policy issues. We believe the time is right for there to be a major discussion in regard to how we can fix a Medicare and Medicaid long term care financing system that is increasingly failing Texas', and America's, oldest, sickest seniors."

Tim Graves, President of the Texas Health Care Association (THCA) said the combination of Medicare cuts and an anemic state Medicaid program will severely undercut facility staffing efforts and intra-facility quality improvement programs, many of which are being conducted jointly with state and federal government. "The unfortunate irony is that on one hand, we are working vigorously and successfully to improve facility care, while, on the other hand, government payment policy undermines our collective policy objective - which is to improve quality standards in the face of a growing demographic tidal wave of retirees with substantially more complex care issues."

And now more than ever, Graves observed, "We need to initiate a discussion about how to strengthen long term care in Texas, where our Medicaid reimbursement rates have slipped to 49th in the entire nation, and which simply does not reflect the challenges faced daily by our state's most vulnerable seniors and the providers who care for them."

The THCA President said that with Medicaid financing a joint state-federal responsibility, the Texas long term care profession is urging incumbent state lawmakers as well as their challengers - through a new Texas-specific effort, "Educate '08" - to take a hard look at the fact that while the average national daily Medicaid
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SOURCE Texas Health Care Association
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