Presidential election, Medicaid expansion crucial to future of nursing home funding

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If President Obama is re-elected in November, governors who have resisted implementing the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion will likely change their tune, a former government official speculated last week.

Tom Scully, who served as the administrator for Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services from 2001-2003, under President George W. Bush, told McKnight's that the healthcare funding would likely increase dramatically during another four years of President Obama. That's good news for skilled nursing facilities looking for more federal and state money.

“If President Obama gets elected, I think some of the Southern governors who've said they're not going to take the Medicaid money will probably gradually succumb and take it anyway,” Scully said in an interview with McKnight's Editor Jim Berklan. “If Romney gets elected president, I think you'll see a whole slowing down of the ACA.”

Still, Scully said that while states won't have to put up a lot of money in the first few years of the expansion, they will in the long run. He cautioned that no matter who wins the election, nursing home operators must do better in convincing lawmakers that Medicaid is key to their survival.

“I am a broken record on this,” he said. “I think nursing homes need to educate people a little more about Medicaid. They get hammered on Medicaid, and they just go back to the Hill and say ‘pay us more in Medicare.”

You can see other NIC video interviews at www.mcknights.com. Click here to read a transcript of the interview.

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