Claims about SNF funding, Medicaid among 'glaring errors' found in lawmakers' letters on ACA, replacement plan

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Some lawmakers have included errors and inaccuracies about the Affordable Care Act and its potential replacement in correspondences with their constituents, according to a new report from ProPublica.

The “fact check” of politicians' letters and emails was spurred by people “flooding their representatives with notes of support or concern” over whether to repeal the Affordable Care Act, ProPublica wrote. The report was co-published with Kaiser Health News, Stat and Vox.

The resulting analysis of letters and emails penned by 51 senators and 134 House representatives turned up several “glaring errors and omissions,” the report's authors wrote.

Among them is a statistic that “60% of Medicaid goes to long-term care” quoted by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA). That amount is closer to 25%; however Medicaid does cover more than 60% of all skilled nursing residents, ProPublica reported.

Eshoo's office responded to the report's authors to clarify that the statistic was based on dual eligibles, for whom Medicaid covers 62% of long-term supports and services.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) was put on the spot in the report for telling constituents that the GOP's American Health Care Act “slashes Medicaid benefits for nursing home care.” While the legislation does include proposed Medicaid cuts, it does not expressly state that the cuts would take funding from skilled nursing providers.

However, a spokesman for Wyden responded to ProPublica, saying that “cuts to Medicaid would force states to nickel and dime nursing homes, restricting access to care for older Americans and making it a benefit in name only.”

“It's not clear if this is intentional or if the lawmakers and their staffs don't understand the current law or the proposals to alter it,” the report reads. “Either way, the issue of what is wrong — and right — about the current system has become critical as the House prepares to vote on the GOP's replacement bill Thursday.”

As of production deadline, media reports indicated that the GOP's healthcare bill would come up short of the votes needed to clear the House.