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AHCA to Aggressively Confront Any Efforts to Slash Medicare Funding for Nation's Most Vulnerable Seniors, Disabled.

Skilled Nursing Providers Warn Ongoing Care Quality Gains Will be Jeopardized, Sector Stability Undermined

WASHINGTON, Feb. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Over concerns of possible plans to target cuts in inflation updates in payments to various Medicare healthcare providers, the American Health Care Association (AHCA) said it would aggressively fight attempts by Congress or the Administration to cut the Medicare funding vital to America's most vulnerable seniors and disabled citizens.

"We want to be very clear right at the outset: AHCA will aggressively fight any attempts by Congress or the Administration to illogically cut the very Medicare funds necessary to sustain the quality improvements now benefiting America's most vulnerable seniors and disabled citizens," warned Bruce Yarwood, President and CEO of AHCA. "Cutting Medicare and placing this key program on yet another fiscal roller coaster ride will undermine our sector's financial stability at a time we must prepare to successfully care for the imminent wave of baby boom retirees," he continued. "Proposing Medicare cuts makes no sense, flies in the face of demographic reality, and there is no good policy justification to legitimize this course of action."

Noting that Medicare is already being forced to subsidize the faltering Medicaid program, according to a variety of independent studies and analyses, Yarwood said any reductions in Medicare funding "would have an enormously negative collateral effect on the operations of skilled nursing facilities across the nation."

Yarwood also pointed out that from 2010 to 2030, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of baby boomers age 65 to 84 will grow 81 percent while the population aged 85 and older will grow by an astronomical 49 percent.

"Now is precisely the time we as a nation must be investing in and strengthening America's long term care infrastructure -- not weakening it," Yarwood continued. "Working collaboratively and successfully with this Administration and with Congress over the past several years, we have achieved stable funding and we have seen the Nursing Home Quality Initiative (NHQI) succeed in a manner we can be proud of. Medicare cuts, unfortunately, are antithetical to continuing the improvements that make an enormous positive difference in seniors' quality of care and quality of life."

CONTACT: Susan Feeney of the American Health Care Association, +1-202-898-9354
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 2, 2007
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