AHCA, AAHSA react to President Bush's budget proposal

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In assessing President Bush's $2.4 trillion, 2,500-page budget proposal for fiscal year 2005, the American Health Care Association and the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging expressed both relief and concern on issues.

AHCA said in a statement that because resource utilization groups (RUGs) add-ons may be extended through Sept. 30, 2005, it could save skilled nursing facilities $1 billion.

An AAHSA statement said it is relieved there is no measure in the proposal to cap federal Medicaid spending. AAHSA also lauded the budget's call for expanding long-term care partnerships, which would allow people who use up money in a long-term care insurance plan to shelter their assets while applying for Medicaid.

On the flip side, AHCA expressed concern over the budget's reduction in reimbursement for Medicare bad debt over the next five years. AHCA says the government may also phase down Intergovernmental Transfers (IGTs) in the budget from $2.8 billion in FY 2005 to $1.4 billion in FY 2009.

AAHSA said the budget would decrease HUD's affordable senior housing programs by $5 million when there are nine very-low-income seniors on waiting lists for every unit that will become available this year in HUD Section 202 housing.