Nursing homes see red over Bush proposal to cut $10 billion in Medicare payments

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Providers continued to express outrage Tuesday over President Bush's 2008 budget proposal, which entails cutting $39.5 billion in annual inflation adjustments for Medicare reimbursements to nursing homes, hospitals and other healthcare providers.

Medicare payments have been stable over the last five years, allowing nursing homes to offer post-acute services, said Alan Rosenbloom, president of the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care. Bush's proposals are "shortsighted and largely ignore the new realities of the Medicare post-acute marketplace, to the detriment of Medicare beneficiaries and the healthcare workers on whom they rely for quality services," Rosenbloom said.

Limits on inflation adjustments will make up a large part of the proposed $101.5 billion in Medicare and Medicaid savings over five years. The Administration's budget calls for more than $10 billion in cuts to Medicare funding for skilled nursing facility care over five years, according to providers. The budget proposal also includes about $26 billion in Medicaid savings ($13 billion from legislative changes and $12.7 billion from administrative changes) over five years.