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Medicare, Medicaid Cuts in Bush FY 2006 Budget Undermine Continued Progress in Boosting Nursing Home Care Quality; PHCA: PA Seniors' Medicare Funding to be Reduced by $90 Million; Anticipated State Medicaid Cuts Will Exacerbate Long-Term Care Funding Crisis.

HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- In response to the President's FY 2006 budget plan, the Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA) said the combination of proposed federal Medicare and Medicaid cuts will undermine continued progress of the long-term care profession's quality improvement initiatives, and additional state cuts to Medicaid anticipated in Governor Rendell's proposed budget will, together, jeopardize seniors' continued access to quality care now and in the future.

"The problem with the President's budget is that it substantially undermines the economic stability of the long-term care community in Pennsylvania, and will negatively impact the solid progress we have made improving the quality of care for nursing home residents throughout the Commonwealth," stated Alan G. Rosenbloom, President and CEO of PHCA. "We estimate Pennsylvania seniors' Medicare funding will be reduced $90 million next year - and the additional cuts to Medicaid we now see on the federal side in addition to anticipated Medicaid cuts in the Commonwealth will seriously jeopardize seniors' access to quality care."

Rosenbloom expressed major disappointment in the "disconnect between federal budget policy and federal health care objectives." He pointed out that while former Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy Thompson as recently as December lauded the progress of the joint federal-provider Nursing Home Quality Initiative (NHQI), the proposed federal budget "pulls the rug out and jeopardizes our solid quality achievements we seek to continue now and for the long term."

Rosenbloom further noted the fact Medicare is already being forced to subsidize an increasingly unreliable Medicaid financing system, thereby exacerbating the impact of Medicare cuts: "Medicare is already being weakened structurally because it is subsidizing ever-growing Medicaid losses here in Pennsylvania and across the nation - and our state budgetary situation will only exacerbate this ominous development."

Concluded Rosenbloom, "As Pennsylvania is the second oldest state in the nation, we strongly urge our federal congressional delegation to fight these shortsighted federal Medicare and Medicaid cuts which fly in the face of demographic reality and common sense."

PHCA is a statewide membership services organization representing approximately 300 long-term care and senior service providers throughout the Commonwealth. Additional information about PHCA is available by calling 717-221-1800 or visiting http://www.phca.org/.

CONTACT: Holly Lubart, Pennsylvania Health Care Association, +1-717-221-7935

Web site: http://www.phca.org/
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 8, 2005
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