Caregiver coalition urges super committee to spare entitlements

A coalition comprised of long-term caregivers has urged the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to not cut entitlements that would affect elderly beneficiaries requiring skilled nursing care.

In an open letter to the “super committee,” the Coalition to Protect Senior Care (CPSC) last Friday urged committee members to consider that the billions in Medicare reductions already implemented and deep cuts in Medicaid underway in several states to long-term care providers are not separate from cuts to elderly beneficiaries and that additional cuts can no longer be absorbed without serious consequences to staffing levels and quality of care.

“There is a false perception out there that cutting long-term care providers is somehow inconsequential to the elderly Medicare and Medicaid beneficiary and the frontline caregiver providing essential skilled nursing care,” says Lori Porter, certified nurse aide, co-founder and CEO of the National Association of Health Care Assistants (NAHCA) and a member of the CPSC. “As the letter to the committee notes, 70 percent of a facility’s budget is attributed to staffing. Adequate staffing of qualified, dedicated caregivers leads to a high quality of care for our elderly residents. Compromising that quality of care is unacceptable.”

The congressional super committee is tasked with reducing the deficit by $1.5 trillion. Congress must vote on the committee’s recommendations by December 23, allowing President Obama to raise the debt ceiling by another $1.5 trillion. However, if the committee’s recommendations fail to pass congressional voting, automatic cuts would be triggered, including to Medicare, up to 2 percent of the program’s cost.

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