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Consumer Voice Issues Statement on American Health Care Act

March 10, 2017

The American Health Care Act
Harmful for Long-Term Care Consumers and Those Who Care for Them

The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care (Consumer Voice) issued the following statement on the American Health Care Act:

The American Health Care Act is detrimental for long-term care consumers and those who care for them.  Proposed changes to Medicaid, the primary payer of long-term care in this country, to a capped payment system would result in cuts to the amount of money states receive, impacting the services provided to beneficiaries.  Inevitable cuts will mean that states will likely change Medicaid eligibility requirements, and reduce services being offered, including access to long-term care.

Medicaid pays for more than half of all long-term care in the United States, and nearly 50% of all nursing home costs. The annual cost of a shared room in a nursing home is more than $82,000 per year.  Few individuals or families can afford that for an extended period. These proposed changes would impose tremendous financial burdens on individuals needing long-term care and their families.

Additionally, the American Health Care Act will make it harder for caregivers to obtain affordable health insurance.  Many direct care workers receive minimum wage, but are not provided with health benefits through their employer.  The Affordable Care Act was instrumental in providing affordable health care for many direct care workers, including through the expansion of Medicaid to individuals who live below 138 percent of the federal poverty level.  The proposal in the American Health Care Act to eliminate the Medicaid expansion, now implemented by 31 states, will put at risk the health care of hundreds of thousands of direct care workers.

Congress must reject the American Health Care Act because it is harmful to those who most need access to care. 

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