Washington, D.C. — The Advancing Excellence in Long Term Care Collaborative (AELTCC), a broad-based coalition of stakeholder groups, released a statement today on the American Health Care Act:

The American Health Care Act includes a proposal to inexorably alter the nation’s Medicaid program by dramatically limiting federal funding. States would have to pay for an ever-increasing portion of the program costs. With state budgets already stretched—and most states requiring balanced budgets —the proposed American Health Care Act would force states to limit eligibility and therefore cut benefits to at-risk individuals, including our country’s rapidly aging senior population. Further cuts will impose additional burdens on the already scant resources available to states to maintain quality care for vulnerable populations.

Another factor that concerns AELTCC is a provision that limits funding for—and ultimately eliminates—the ACA’s Medicaid expansion provision, which gave states the option to provide Medicaid coverage to all low-income individuals under 138 percent of the poverty level. Now implemented in 31 states, the roll back of Medicaid expansion jeopardizes the long-term care workforce, which means that direct care workers, the majority of whom are already disadvantaged with lower wages and benefits than their counterparts in other healthcare settings, will have a harder time obtaining affordable insurance. This will in turn exacerbate providers’ ability to attract and retain qualified and competent caregivers to provide services to the vulnerable populations they serve.

“Millions of seniors would be threatened with loss of coverage for long-term care and other health care needs,” said Jay Sackman, AELTCC chair. “As it stands, the American Health Care Act would not only impose significant strain on states to compensate for these cuts to Medicaid. It would present extreme risk for those who can least afford to lose coverage—the frail elderly and those lower income workers who care for them.

We urge Congress to rethink the approach to Medicaid funding in the American Health Care Act because, in its current state, it is harmful to those who most need access to care.”

The Advancing Excellence in Long-Term Care Collaborative is a membership-based,501(c)3 organization which provides a national forum for government, professional, consumer, trade, clinical, and other stakeholders to discuss diverse perspectives, policies, regulations, and environmental trends that affect post-acute and long-term services and supports (LTSS).

For more information or to join AELTCC, visit www.aeltcc.org or contact Jay Sackman at jaysackman@sbcglobal.net.