Long-term care providers delivered an impassioned, carefully constructed argument for stable Medicaid funding Monday as the National Governors Association winter meeting closed on a loud note. The expiration of $40 billion in emergency Medicaid funding on June 30 will exacerbate already weak Medicaid funding levels, provider advocates said. Governors play a key role with Medicaid, a federal-state funding source for providers.

“As a former governor, I know firsthand how crucial this funding is not only for our seniors, but also toward ensuring good jobs for local workers throughout America,” stated Mark Parkinson, president & CEO of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living. He noted that the skilled nursing sector has more than 3.1 million employees, making it the second biggest healthcare facility employer in the country.

 Part of Monday’s appeal called for consistent, strong Medicare funding, which is needed to prop up insufficient Medicaid reimbursement, said Parkinson and Alan Rosenbloom, the top exec of the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care.

“Medicare is more than a key national health program – it serves as a cornerstone of rural, suburban and urban economic vitality and job growth throughout America,” they emphasized in a joint statement. 

During their meeting, governors discussed a wide range of options for making ends meet while dealing with growing Medicaid rolls, increased regulation and tightening finances. Providers worry that most of the options discussed would deliver less for their caregiving operations.