The head of the American Health Care Association this week criticized President Bush’s fiscal year 2007 budget proposal, which includes steep cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.

If enacted, the cuts would “jeopardize the care of America’s highest acuity long-term care patients,” said Bruce Yarwood, AHCA president and CEO. He added that the reductions would also threaten the gains made in improving the quality of nursing home care.

Bush is proposing to slash $5.8 billion from Medicaid and $36 billion from Medicare over five years. The Medicare reductions include a zero marketbasket update in 2007 and the elimination of providers’ reimbursement for uncompensated care (known as bad debt). AHCA estimates the elimination of the market basket update would cut nearly $11 per resident day and the uncompensated care provision would cost nearly $2.50 per resident day – for a total of approximately $13.50 per resident day.
The Senate last week approved a budget proposal that did not include Bush’s Medicare or Medicaid cuts. The House has yet to act on a budget proposal.