Monday, February 7, 2011

Drawing the Medicaid – Medicare Connection

February 7, 2011

Yesterday, The New York Times published a letter to the editor from Governor Mark Parkinson, President and CEO of AHCA/NCAL and Alan Rosenbloom, President of the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care, regarding the delicate and often unknown relationship between Medicare and Medicaid funding.

The letter was in response to an earlier Times article, “For Governors of Both Parties, Medicaid Looks Ripe to Slash” (front page, Jan. 29), which highlights the predicament confronting several state governors as they attempt to detail budgetary priorities in the midst of state fiscal challenges. As reported in the article, the problem is only becoming larger as several states are unable to lower Medicaid eligibility due to federal prohibitions.

As Parkinson and Rosenbloom state, Medicaid is increasingly reliant upon Medicare to supplement the gap between the growing costs of providing care and the amount state Medicaid programs actually pay to reimburse facilities. Cutting one or both of these programs would only widen this gap and threaten access to care for the millions of individuals that receive care every day.  Add to this the fact that Medicaid underfunded nursing facility care by $5.6 billion in 2010, and the risk of cuts seems even more devastating.

Take New York, for example. A recent study -- A Report on Shortfalls in Medicaid Funding For Nursing Home Care -- found that New York ranked #1 for both the largest aggregate Medicaid underfunding and largest Medicaid per patient day underfunding in 2010. According to the Times’ article, New York faces proposals for even more cuts this year – totaling about $2 billion in state spending.

You can read more in the entire letter online.

Is your state’s Medicaid program at risk for cuts? Share your stories with us below.

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