Providers praise senator for supporting LTC

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Senate Democrats appear determined to craft a State Children's Health Insurance Program bill that will become law. Meanwhile, long-term care providers are impressing upon lawmakers the risks of cutting into Medicare to fund such legislation.

This week the American Health Care Association praised Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) for his letter to Sens. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Max Baucus (D-MT). In his Oct. 23 letter, he said cutting Medicare for skilled nursing facilities will "undermine" quality improvement efforts in long-term care. He cited an early version of a House SCHIP bill that proposed cutting $2.7 billion from Medicare for SNFs.

On Wednesday, the Senate voted to proceed with debate on legislation (H.R. 3963) reauthorizing funding for SCHIP. The bill would increase funding to the program by $35 billion over five years, largely with a 61-cent-per-pack increase in the federal cigarette tax. The president, who vetoed similar SCHIP legislation last month, has vowed to veto a bill without significant changes.