Providers rip Medicaid Commission report

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Medicaid reform recommendations issued by a federal panel come up short on the issue of financing reform, says the leader of the nation's second-largest nursing home association.

"Recommendations for improving long term care financing focus solely on proposed tax incentives for long-term care insurance," criticized Larry Minnix, the CEO and president of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, on Thursday. "Research shows, however, that insurance alone will not cover the cost of care and services of America's aging population."

Medicaid currently pays for about two-thirds of all U.S. nursing home residents and is the biggest payer of long-term care services in the country. The Medicaid Commission did not make recommendations that would lighten long-term care's dangerous dependence on it, Minnix complained. The controversial commission, which comprises Bush appointees, issued its recommendations Dec. 29.

Minnix said his group is promoting an alternative social insurance model that would "revolutionize the way our nation cares for its elders." It would create a sustainable funding stream that is not dependent on federal programs of state budgets, he said, and would encourage personal responsibility and consumer choice.