Senators distribute letters opposing SNF Medicare cuts

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Provider advocates are increasing pressure on lawmakers to discourage billions of dollars in possible Medicare funding cuts when Congress returns from recess next week. Lobbyists thus far have persuaded three Senators to write letters to Senate and Finance Committee leaders, vocally opposing the proposed cuts.

"Any reduction in Medicare funding for skilled nursing facility (SNF) care will likely have a direct and negative impact on ... Americans," wrote Sen. Mark Prior (D-AR) on Tuesday. A day earlier, Sens. John Thune (R-SD) and Tim Johnson (D-SD) wrote similar messages. Copies of all three senators' letters can be found at www.ahca.org.

The proposed cuts would reduce funding to skilled nursing facilities by $2.7 billion over the next five years and up to $6.5 billion over the next decade. The cuts would "hurt seniors, direct care workers and many other Americans," said Bruce Yarwood, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association.

"As Congress prepares to resume business in Washington next week, we intend to be very visible over the next several days in a variety of states," stated Lisa Cantrell, a co-founder of the National Association of Health Care Assistants and a spokeswoman for the Coalition to Protect Senior Care.