Senate healthcare bill puts quality of care at risk, coalition says
The number of Medicaid nursing home beds served could decline and some providers might start to refuse accepting Medicaid patients altogether if cuts proposed in the Senate healthcare bill occur, a coalition of aging organizations warned Tuesday.
“Something is going to have to give at the state level and at the provider level,” said Marsha Greenfield, the LeadingAge vice president of health legislation. “Whether it is reducing the number of people served, making it harder for people to get on Medicaid or cutting the number of nursing homes that accept Medicaid. The real loss will be for the people who need those services.”
The Leadership Council of Aging Organization sent its concerns to the Senate in a letter from almost 50 organizations in an effort to dissuade the Senate from passing the Better Care Reconciliation Act. The bill would decrease Medicaid funding by $772 billion and impose per capita caps on federal contributions to Medicaid.
Coalition members stated that the cuts would lead to significant job losses and reduced wages in the field, which would affect an estimated 4.4 million current nursing facility and home health workers.
“This is not the outcome anyone wants: cutting staffing, cutting pay,” Greenfield said. “But it is an outcome we seriously face.”
Two out of three nursing home residents currently rely on Medicaid to pay for their care facility. The population of adults 85 and older is expected to triple by 2050, further complicating matters.
A PerryUndem survey conducted from June 15 to June 18 found that only 11% of Americans favor cutting Medicaid.
“We are also deeply disappointed that the Senate held no hearings on this bill and did not give committees an opportunity to discuss and amend it,” coalition leaders wrote in the letter.
Although President Trump sent a rallying text Tuesday to get healthcare reform passed before Congress' recess starts Aug. 15, the Senate has not yet scheduled a day to vote on the BCRA, adding to speculation from some key stakeholders that it might be voted on or pass.