Provider group hammers Congressional leadership on lowering provider tax threshold

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The American Health Care Association continued its assault Wednesday on a Republican proposal to use Medicaid provider assessments to offset subsidies to the Stafford student loan program.

In a letter to House and Senate Leaders, AHCA President and CEO Mark Parkinson reinforced his association's message that lowering the Medicaid provider tax threshold from 6% to 5.5% would negatively impact nursing homes' bottom line.

“Limiting states' ability to use provider assessments to support their Medicaid programs would do nothing to reduce the cost of healthcare or make Medicaid more efficient,” Parkinson's letter states.

Greg Crist, AHCA's vice president of public affairs, told McKnight's that his organization is fighting this proposal because of the precedent it sets if Congress continually looks to Medicaid funding to plug other budgetary holes. He says long-term care providers perennially look to the assessment tax as a reliable source of revenue. Medicaid needs serious reform but this isn't the way to do it, he stressed.

“Here again, we need to set the marker down and make sure no one plays brinksmanship with the provider tax. You can't just pull one piece — and it's a major piece — out of a Medicaid mosaic and expect to see the right picture.”

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