Voices from within the home health industry on Monday renewed calls to oppose the Senate’s bill to roll back Affordable Care Act policies. By the end of the day, the future of the legislation appeared more uncertain than ever.
Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas declared their opposition to the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BRCA) in statements issued Monday. With GOP Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Susan Collins of Maine already against the bill—and all 48 Democratic Senators certain to vote against it—the Obamacare rollback may not have a path forward.
The week began with doubts already swirling, given that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is not available for a vote due to an unexpected surgery to remove a blood clot near his eye. This caused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to push back the planned vote on the health care bill, although McCain himself has not guaranteed that he would vote to approve the legislation.
These latest developments prove that the “core of this bill is unworkable,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) stated.
Steep cuts to Medicaid funding over a decade—totaling around $770 billion—present a stark threat to home- and community-based services (HCBS), according to the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC).
While the BRCA includes language telling the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to encourage states to shift Medicaid funding to HCBS, there is no guarantee this will happen, and plenty of reason to think that states actually will shift more funding to institutional care if the Senate bill becomes law, NAHC stated in a website post on Monday.
“Nursing home care must be provided to all eligible beneficiaries, but the same is not true of home-and-community-based services,” the post states. “Despite official HHS prodding of states to shift funding to HBCS … state governments would inevitably be compelled to return to spending the bulk of Medicaid money on institutional care, forcing people out of their homes against their will.”
Written by Tim Mullaney