Congressional Black Caucus members call for Medicaid funding extension

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Three members of the Congressional Black Caucus are calling for extended federal Medicaid assistance for states to help blacks, who a study has found are disproportionately affected by state Medicaid cuts.

A Congressional Black Caucus hearing Tuesday focused on the results of a recently published report from Avalere Health, which determined that roughly 40% of black nursing home patients live in facilities with significant Medicaid populations. (McKnight's, 7/19/10) A temporary 6.2% increase in federal Medicaid assistance is set to expire at the end of 2010. Several states are considering drastic cuts to Medicaid programs to make up the shortfall. Reps. Danny Davis (D-IL), Ed Towns (D-NY) and Gwen Moore (D-WI) agreed that the proposed cuts would likely affect a disproportionate amount of black nursing home residents, and action must be taken to prevent the disparity.

"[Medicaid rates] are already too low to those nursing homes that provide care to our seniors, and when we have cuts it will means cuts to quality of services,” Moore said.

A Medicaid extensions packaged has stalled in the Senate, where conservative members have blocked its passage due to concerns over the growing federal deficit. The House did not include Medicaid funding in its version of a tax extenders bill, which it considered several weeks ago. Supporters of the $24 billion package are pushing for a vote before the August congressional recess.