Healthcare providers are worried that the Medicare and Medicaid cuts predicted in President Obama’s FY 2012 budget will affect the quality of care offered in skilled nursing facilities, and damage the U.S. economy’s fragile recovery as well. The president’s budget is expected to be released Monday.

The skilled nursing care sector currently is the second largest healthcare employer in the United States, according to a new report from the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care and health advisory firm Avalere Health. The sector accounts for 1.7 million jobs, which has an economic impact worth $201 billion annually, according to report projections. The top five states, with regard to the number of skilled nursing employees are New York, California, Ohio, Texas and Florida.

“With pressure on governors in big and small states alike to cut state Medicaid funding, this places a premium on ensuring the president and Congress work to achieve stable Medicare funding for the skilled nursing sector to help protect seniors’ care, grow the U.S. jobs base, and nurture our fragile economic recovery,” Alliance President Alan G. Rosenboom said.