Wednesday, October 12, 2011

AHCA Attends New Hampshire Presidential Debate

Pre-Debate look at the Bloomberg/Washington Post
Debate Stage (October 11, 2011

As the race to White House continues, AHCA is in the front seat following the candidates, the political conversations, and the changing future of the long term care profession. Last night, AHCA was on scene at the New Hampshire Presidential Primary debate in Hanover, NH. AHCA and the New Hampshire Health Care Association (NHHCA) were the lead local media sponsors of WBIN, the regional television station that aired the debate throughout the New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts regions—regions that are ripe with political action, independent thinkers, and voters who are concerned about the future of long term care in this country.

New Hampshire Health Care Association President &
CEO John Poirier in the Post-Debate Media Spin Room
Prior to last night’s debate, NHHCA President John Poirier last week posed difficult questions to the candidates through interviews with the media, urging the candidates to consider how they would address issues such as Medicare and Medicaid funding, the onslaught of baby boomers who are aged 65 and older and their multiplying health needs, and the protection of the jobs and economic boost that the long term care sector provides.  AHCA submitted several questions to the debate moderators for consideration that focused primarily on those matters closest to the core of the long term care profession.  

On the topics of Medicare and Medicaid, Governor Perry stated last night that he supports a Medicaid block grant program—a program that AHCA has always found inadequate to fully serve the people dependent upon Medicaid for care. Proposals that convert the Medicaid entitlement into a block grant tend to eliminate the current formula under which states receive federal dollars based on a set percentage of incurred costs. Instead, block grants provide a fixed dollar amount each year that is based on an arbitrary baseline, which does not take need into account.

AHCA will continue to fight on the behalf of its members and those frail, elderly, and disabled individuals who rely on the programs for continued health care.  Every eight minutes, an American turns 65. And as these individuals age, more than 1.5 million turn to Medicare and Medicaid for care every single day—and these people need not only to be heard, but to be continually involved in the political conversations that determine the future of their access to quality health care.

Former Senator Rick Santorum in the
post-debate media spin room 
The majority of last night’s debate was focused on jobs and the economy, a topic that will continue to be of particular concern to AHCA, as the long term care industry is the nation’s 10th largest employer and contributes 3.1 million American jobs. In 2010, as the nation continued to slide into unemployment frustration and a dreary economic forecast, the long term care industry provided 63,000 new jobs—jobs that helped Americans provide for their families, continue to support their communities, and secure their health care today and for the future. As candidates continue to consider jobs plans and a strategy for economic gains and a full recovery, AHCA will continue to promote the position of this sector as a lynchpin of a successful plan. A secure economy requires industries and professions that are secure, that provide successful, fulfilling jobs to Americans, and that are investing in future growth. 

As the race to the presidency progresses, AHCA will continue to provide its members and the long term care community the facts they need to know about the issues that mean the most.

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