National organizations defend 'bed taxes' in letters to White House, Congress

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Mark Parkinson, President, AHCA
Mark Parkinson, President, AHCA

A group of 20 national healthcare organizations supporting current allowable “bed tax” levels, have asked the ceiling not be changed as part of current federal budget talks in a letter sent Tuesday to President Obama and the leaders of Congress.

The American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living and the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems helped lead the letter-writing effort. It states that any reduction or elimination of Medicaid provider assessments would do little to lower healthcare costs but would threaten care for seniors, individuals with disabilities, children and low-income families.

“Provider assessments are a critical tool for states in bridging the gap between what Medicaid funds and what it actually costs to provide care,” said Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL. “In skilled nursing centers, Medicaid underfunded providers by $6 billion when nearly two-thirds of residents rely on the program for their daily care. Tampering with provider assessments puts at risk skilled nursing centers' ability to continue providing access to care for our frail seniors and individuals with disabilities.”

The administration has explored a reduction in the rate from a maximum of 6% in 2014 to 3.5% in 2017, and there is great anxiety among providers that a cut could result from the current “fiscal cliff” talks. The president said Tuesday he would not cut programs that hurt the middle class, seniors and college students according to a CBS News report.

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