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AHCA/NCAL: Smith-Bingaman Vote a Victory for Medicaid Reform, USA

September 11, 2017

The American Health Care Association (AHCA) and the National Center For Assisted Living (NCAL) today praised the U.S. Senate's passage of an amendment offered by Senators Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) to establish, for one year, a Bipartisan Medicaid Commission. The organizations also said the floor vote is a victory for helping preserve gains in nursing home care quality recently announced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and helping preserve key funding for the care of persons with mental retardation and developmental disabilities and many assisted living residents.

"We view the creation of a Medicaid Commission as a positive step toward helping the nation's long term care community preserve and sustain recent quality gains in America's nursing home care," said Hal Daub, President and CEO of AHCA/NCAL. "The vote also reflects recognition by a majority of U.S. Senators that there is a direct correlation between the stability and adequacy of long term care funding and the quality of care provided to America's frail, elderly and disabled."

Daub said the Bipartisan Medicaid Commission established by the Smith-Bingaman amendment will create an environment and structure conducive to the intelligent debate needed to resolve a variety of federal-state fiscal disagreements that, for now, appear out of reach.

AHCA/NCAL has long advocated to move long term care to the forefront of the policy debate. The establishment of this Medicaid Commission is a victory for those who want to advance serious Medicaid reform.

"Several issues relating to federal-state fiscal and budgetary matters that appear intractable at the moment have a chance to be resolved with more time -- and through the formulation of sound policy, not the imposition of immediate Medicaid cuts," continued the AHCA/NCAL President and CEO.

"Just three months ago, I was honored to stand with then HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson and CMS Administrator Mark McClellan to announce our collaborative Nursing Home Quality Initiative (NHQI) is working successfully to improve care for our frail, elderly and disabled - and continued success is now placed at risk by the proposed federal budget," Daub continued.

"Secretary Thompson and Administrator McClellan observed at the time, and I agree, that the more stable long term care budgetary environment fostered by the Bush Administration has helped the provider community improve quality. From the standpoint of logic, common sense and good policy, this is not the time to abruptly reverse course in a manner that undermines our ability to properly prepare for the enormous demographic challenges facing us all."

The American Health Care Association and the National Center For Assisted Living are the nation's leading long term care organizations. AHCA/NCAL and their membership are committed to performance excellence and Quality First, a covenant for healthy, affordable and ethical long term care. AHCA/NCAL represent more than 10,000 non-profit and proprietary facilities dedicated to continuous improvement in the delivery of professional and compassionate care provided daily by 4 million caring employees to more than 1.5 million of our nation's frail, elderly and disabled citizens who live in nursing facilities, assisted living residences, subacute centers and homes for persons with mental retardation and developmental disabilities. For more information on AHCA/NCAL, please visit http:/www.ahca

American Health Care Association
1201 L Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20005
phone: (202) 842-4444 fax: (202) 842-3860