State's Medicaid cuts could be illegal, nursing homes argue

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Nursing homes in Washington state are fighting against proposed state Medicaid budget cuts. They have secured a 30-day stay while federal judges decide if the cuts are legal, according to local news sources.

Washington Governor Chris Gregoire (D), like many other governors across the country, has suggested a number of healthcare funding cuts. Hers would total $37 million to $38 million per year. One of her many proposals would cut $19 million per year in nursing home payments. That is roughly $46 million per year when federal matching funds are taken into account, according to The Olympian newspaper. Several of the state's nursing homes, along with the Washington Health Care Association, have sued to stop those cuts.

The cuts would reduce payments by $11 to $12 per patient per day to nursing homes that are already under-funded by $18 to $20 per patient per day, Gary Weeks, executive director of WHCA, told the newspaper. Federal judges will decide whether or not a state can cut Medicaid payments without first reviewing the decision with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, as would be the case in Washington. A hearing is scheduled for Friday.

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