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New Study of House Health Reform Bill: Iowa Faces Over $348 Million in Medicare-Funded Nursing Home Cuts Over Ten Years
Date:8/24/2009

Proposed Medicare Cuts Will Harm Seniors' Care, Place Nearly 500 Iowa Nursing Staff Jobs in Jeopardy

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa, Aug. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new American Health Care Association analysis of the pending House health reform bill, combined with the impact of a recently-enacted Medicare regulation cutting Medicare-funded nursing home care by $12 billion over ten years, finds seniors in Iowa requiring nursing and rehabilitative care will face total funding cuts of $348 million over that same time period. Nationally, the study finds, seniors' Medicare cuts will total $44 billion over ten years, prompting Iowa's long term care community to warn that seniors' care needs are endangered by the House bill, as are the jobs of nearly 500 caregivers in Iowa alone.

"We are greatly concerned about the impact proposed cuts will have on Iowa seniors' Medicare-funded nursing care. We urge lawmakers to consider how cuts of this size will affect senior care and ask that Congress revise its plan to ensure seniors are helped by reform measures," said Steve Ackerson, Executive Director of the Iowa Health Care Association (IHCA). "Arguments being made that seniors' benefits will not be reduced by the House bill do not recognize that cuts would force providers to cut staff because labor expenses make up 70 percent of facility costs. Cutting staff within a facility has a direct impact on patients and their care."

The new analysis of the House bill's Medicare funding reductions over ten years (combined with the $12 billion ten year Medicare cuts just put into effect by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), is computed by the AHCA Reimbursement and Research Department using the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score of both HR 3200 and the recent CMS funding rule, along with Medicare Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) utilization data.

In crafting a final bill, Ackerson also urged lawmakers to take into account the fact that the Medicaid program already under funds the cost of providing care by at least $43 million in Iowa according to Eljay, LLC, thereby already placing enormous stress on facilities and staff before federal Medicare cuts even enter the picture. "We believe Congress should preserve, protect and defend seniors' Medicare-funded nursing home care, and we respectfully ask lawmakers to do so when Congress reconvenes in September."

All 50 State Cut Data Available at www.ahca.org.

The Iowa Health Care Association (IHCA) and Iowa Center for Assisted Living (ICAL) represent 560 Iowa nursing homes, assisted living programs, residential care facilities, and independent senior living and retirement communities.


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SOURCE Iowa Health Care Association
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