Long-term care leaders support passage of budget deal

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LeadingAge CEO and President Larry Minnix
LeadingAge CEO and President Larry Minnix

Prominent long-term care provider associations registered support for a bipartisan budget deal being considered by Congress this week, despite the fact that it would extend a period of reduced Medicare reimbursements.

Leaders of the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living and LeadingAge, the nation's two largest provider groups, said the deal is a way to avert continuing budget brinkmanship of the sort that shut down the government in October. It would provide the country with “certainty,” said Mark Parkinson, CEO and president of AHCA/NCAL.

The deal worked out by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) would roll back many of the across-the-board sequestration spending cuts that took effect this year. However, it would extend by two years a 2% reduction in Medicare reimbursements. LeadingAge CEO and President Larry Minnix focused on the broader benefits of ending sequestration.

“The agreement will raise spending caps for the non-defense discretionary portion of the budget enough to preserve seniors' continued access to affordable housing and supportive services,” Minnix said.

Minnix also expressed hope that Medicaid and Medicare will not sustain any cuts this year if Congress approves the deal.

Parkinson and Minnix also praised a provision to extend an exceptions process on Medicare therapy caps, which was set to expire on Jan. 1.

Click here to access the text of the “Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013.” Congress faces a Friday deadline to pass the bill.