Senior care groups want nursing home funding protected in Obama's first budget

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Senior care groups want nursing home funding protected in Obama's first budget
Senior care groups want nursing home funding protected in Obama's first budget
President Barack Obama is set to unveil his 2010 budget proposal Thursday, causing anxious senior care groups to issue a call for Medicare funding protection.

The Coalition to Protect Senior Care, which represents more than a dozen healthcare groups around the country, called upon the president to use his success with the stimulus package to protect Medicaid funding for skilled nursing facilities. The stimulus package contains measures that would help bolster the long-term care workforce-gains that would be lost if Obama were to cut Medicaid funding, the coalitions members warn.

"From a policy perspective, it would be illogical to encourage job creation through the stimulus law on one hand while, on the other, placing enormous pressure on providers to cut jobs by enacting federal Medicare cuts," said coalition spokeswoman Lori Porter. "The bottom line: Maintaining Medicaid funding for skilled nursing care must be a top administration healthcare priority if frontline caregivers are to be able to ensure quality caregiving at the bedside."

The aging population and its role in entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security concern fiscal conservatives, who say aggressive action is needed to address the long-term costs of those programs. Liberals, on the other hand, are concerned that draconian cuts to the social safety net would leave much of the nation vulnerable. They are keen to focus more on lowering healthcare costs, rather than cutting services, according to a CQ Today report.