Associations divided over Obama’s 2012 budget

President Obama repeated in a news conference yesterday what his $3.7 trillion budget proposal for FY 2012 said on Monday: Medicare and Medicaid are creating “huge problems” for the nation.

“Obama said the entitlement programs were driving the U.S. debt, while offering no details on how to shore them up,” according to Heidi Przybyla, reporting for Bloomberg. The president’s proposal does, however, reduce Medicaid payments to providers by $28.8 billion over 10 years to help fund a two-year extension of physicians' Medicare payments at the current level.

Some of the major long-term care associations expressed varied opinions on the budget.

Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), bemoaned the Medicaid cuts in a release on Monday. “Simply put, cutting Medicaid provider assessments is the wrong move,” he said. “As states across the country face unprecedented fiscal crises, we struggle with the recommended loss of $18.4 billion in critical Medicaid funding over the next decade.”

In a statement to its members, LeadingAge (formerly AAHSA) embraced a divergent viewpoint by saying “Medicaid funding for long-term services and supports would not be affected,” although the association did express concerns over money for community services block grants being halved.

LeadingAge also described encouragement over the increase in programming funds toward home- and community-based services, which were raised in Obama’s proposal from $368 million at present to $416 million next year.

Section 202 housing for older adults also received $387 million for expanding the number of units through capital advances and rental assistance, with an additional $111 million combined for service coordinators and assisted living conversions, the LeadingAge statement highlighted positively.

Topics: Advocacy