Study reveals that the pending health reforms bill will affect senior citizens in Wyoming

A new American Health Care Association analysis of the pending House health reform bill, combined with the impact of a recently-enacted Medicare regulation cutting Medicare-funded nursing home care by $12 billion over ten years, finds seniors in Wyoming requiring nursing and rehabilitative care will face total funding cuts of nearly $60 million over that same time period. Nationally, the study finds, seniors’ Medicare cuts will total $44 billion over ten years, prompting Wyoming’s long term care community to warn that seniors’ care needs are endangered by the House bill, as are the jobs of caregivers and nursing home staff in Wyoming.

“We are greatly concerned about the impact proposed cuts will have on Wyoming seniors’ Medicare-funded nursing care. We urge lawmakers to consider how cuts of this size will affect senior care and ask that Congress revise its plan to ensure seniors are helped by reform measures,” said Tom Jones, Executive Director of the Wyoming Health Care Association (WHCA). “Arguments being made that seniors’ benefits will not be reduced by the House bill do not recognize that cuts would force providers to cut staff because labor expenses make up 70 percent of facility costs. Cutting staff within a facility has a direct impact on patients and their care.”

The new analysis of the House bill’s Medicare funding reductions over ten years, combined with the $12 billion ten year Medicare cuts just put into effect by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), is computed by the AHCA Reimbursement and Research Department using the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score of both HR 3200 and the recent CMS funding rule, along with Medicare Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) utilization data.

In crafting a final bill, Jones also urged lawmakers to take into account the fact the Medicaid program already under funds the cost of providing care by more than $10 million in Wyoming according to Eljay, LLC, thereby already placing enormous stress on facilities and staff before federal Medicare cuts even enter the picture. “We believe Congress should preserve, protect and defend seniors’ Medicare-funded nursing home care, and we respectfully ask lawmakers to do so when Congress reconvenes in September.”

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