Providers rip Medicaid panel's reform package

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Medicaid reform advice issued by a federal panel fell far short of what's needed regarding financing reform, the leader of the nation's second-largest nursing home association recently declared.

"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. "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 half 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, dominated by Bush appointees, issued its recommendations Dec. 29.
Minnix said AAHSA 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.
The report can be seen at http://www.aspe.hhs.gov/medicaid/122906rpt.pdf.