Fear, loathing - and respect - for Bush budget

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Larry Minnix
Larry Minnix
The healthcare provider community continued to pile on the Bush budget proposal Tuesday, while also impressing upon followers a reason to take it seriously.

Bush's fiscal year 2009 budget "sets out priorities that are completely at odds with the tremendous growth in this country's aging population," said Larry Minnix, president and CEO of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging. Bush released his record $3 trillion budget on Monday, which includes billions of dollars of cuts in future Medicare and Medicaid funding for nursing home operators.

Among other proposals, the budget calls for 0% market-basket increases in Medicare reimbursements for 2009 through 2011, and full updates minus 0.65% thereafter.

But despite universal disapproval by healthcare providers and leading congressional leaders, the Bush proposal must be given some serious thought, warned one long-term care expert.

"The president's budget remains relevant because it has set forth parameters that could become the negotiating points guiding this year's Medicare debate," cautioned Alan Peterson, director of government relations for the National Association for the Support of Long Term Care.