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Our major “insurance” plan for nursing home care and other long-term services and supports, by default, is Medicaid. Medicare covers relatively little of this kind of care and few elders have private long-term care insurance, which covers less than five percent of the cost of current services. Two-thirds of Medicaid spending goes toward coverage of health care and long-term services and supports for people aged 65 and over. LeadingAge members rely on Medicaid to meet the costs of recruiting, training and retaining qualified staff as well as other essential operations that ensure high quality clinical care and quality of life for nursing home residents and home health clients. Due to the current recession, many states already have had to reduce their Medicaid spending and most are contemplating even more draconian cuts for next year. Cutbacks in federal Medicaid funding would have a severe impact on state as well as family budgets. Any reduction in federal Medicaid funding to mission-driven, not-for-profit long-term services and supports providers would make it next to impossible for them to serve the numbers of elders they do now.The elders who receive services covered by Medicaid are the frailest and most financially vulnerable members of their communities. They have no other resources to cover the cost of essential services. Their needs will not disappear if they or the services they receive are cut from the Medicaid program.
Under the guise of “reform,” substantial cutbacks in federal Medicaid funding have been proposed by transforming the program into a block grant or imposing a global spending cap. These kinds of cutbacks in Medicaid funding represent bad ethics and bad economy. We oppose these proposals because:
To ensure the continued availability of essential long-term services and supports, LeadingAge urges Congress to: