House bill orders moratorium on harsh Medicaid rules

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The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living are praising a new bipartisan House bill that would put a one-year moratorium on seven Medicaid regulations.

The bill, Protecting the Medicaid Safety Net Act of 2008 (H.R. 5613), would temporarily halt the regulations, which are expected to reduce federal Medicaid payments to states by about $50 billion over the next five years. One, which goes into effect on April 22, reduces the threshold on allowable provider taxes to 5.5% from 6%. The other narrows the definition of public provider and reduces Medicaid revenues to such providers. It is set to take effect on May 25 when the rule's current moratorium expires. Both directly affect long-term care providers.

The bill comes as states face other grim statistics. Earlier this week, The New York Times reported that 25 states are expecting budget shortfalls for the 2009 fiscal year. Representatives John Dingell (D-MI) and Tim Murphy (R-PA) sponsored the bill.