Presidential campaign rhetoric on Medicare eclipses Medicaid policy debate

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Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney

The outcome of the 2012 presidential races will have a much more profound impact on the future of Medicaid — and nursing home funding — than Medicare, experts say.

The candidates' views on Medicare have overshadowed their respective approaches to Medicaid, the New York Times reported. For many nursing homes, further cuts to Medicaid could spell disaster.

“What happens to Medicaid will have a significant effect on many middle-class older people who rely on the program for nursing home care,” the newspaper states. “More than half of current Medicaid spending is on the elderly and the disabled. About half of Medicaid recipients are children; an additional 25% are elderly or disabled people.”

Romney and vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) would repeal President Obama's Affordable Care Act. The repeal, along with additional Medicaid tweaks, would cut Medicaid by $810 billion over 10 years. The President's Medicaid expansion would cost taxpayers an additional $642 billion over the same period and add 17 million people to the rolls, according to recent Congressional Budget Office estimates, the New York Times reported.

Romney advocates block grants for Medicaid funding, which nursing home groups have traditionally not embraced.

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