President Obama snubs long-term care in State of the Union address

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Obama opens the door for drastic new Medicare, Medicaid cuts for nursing homes
Obama opens the door for drastic new Medicare, Medicaid cuts for nursing homes

Despite calls from healthcare groups for President Obama to include long-term care in his State of the Union address Tuesday night, the request appears to have fallen on deaf ears.

In his speech, the President largely ignored the long-term care industry, which has of late stepped up lobbying efforts to prevent further Medicare and Medicaid cuts and stop repeal of the CLASS Act. Obama made only brief mentions of healthcare in his speech, touting the more popular components of healthcare reform, such as the provision that prevents insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

He touched briefly on entitlement reforms, saying “As I told the Speaker this summer, I'm prepared to make more reforms that rein in the long term costs of Medicare and Medicaid, and strengthen Social Security, so long as those programs remain a guarantee of security for seniors.”

With Supreme Court arguments on the Affordable Care Act set to begin in March, provider groups were looking to the President to address the issue in his speech. A Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll found that only 41% of Americans have a favorable view of the ACA, while 43% have an unfavorable view. Analysts for Kaiser Health pointed out that healthcare received significantly more attention from President Obama in previous State of the Union speeches.