Pending recess hastens SCHIP debate

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As Congress prepares to adjourn for its August recess next week, the fate of controversial legislation that would cut payments to nursing homes remains unresolved.

House lawmakers hope to reconcile two versions of a State Children's Health Insurance Program bill. Designed to improve children's healthcare services, the measure also trims Medicare Part A payments to long-term care operators. Senators this week voted to consider a less ambitious version of the bill.

One provider group is calling on members to keep the heat on their legislators during the upcoming break. Larry Minnix, president and chief executive officer of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, is urging members to flood lawmakers with letters and phone calls on the SCHIP bills and other issues. Many Republicans are also unhappy with the legislation, which they see as an incremental step toward national healthcare.