Organizations representing senior living providers expressed pleasure that a bill to replace the Affordable Care Act was pulled from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives late Friday afternoon when it seemed that the legislation lacked sufficient votes to pass and move on to the Senate.
Democrats and members of the Republican Freedom Caucus opposed the bill.
In a press conference Friday, President Donald Trump said “there were things in this bill I didn’t particularly love” and indicated that the administration would shift its focus to tax reform for now.
LeadingAge on Friday described the proposed American Health Care Act as “deeply flawed, especially with regard to the reductions it would make in Medicaid coverage for seniors and people with disabilities.”
The transformation of Medicaid into a system of per-capita caps or block grants, and the loss of Medicaid expansion, through which many seniors housing residents have accessed healthcare coverage, “would be devastating to many of the people we serve,” the organization said in a press release.
LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan praised the group’s members and senior living residents for expressing their opposition of the bill to members of Congress. “We are thrilled that their voices have been heard and their concerns recognized,” she said.
The association encouraged Congress to “follow a more open and deliberative process” in the future if it revisits ACA reform.
“The healthcare field not only provides an essential public service, but it is one of the largest sectors of our economy, generating hundreds of thousands of jobs,” the organization said. “It would be appropriate to take the time necessary to develop policy solutions that will best serve all Americans.”
Meanwhile, the American Health Care Association said Friday night that it was happy to have its acronym back. “News Alert: Association officially reclaims its acronym. #AHCA,” read a tweet from the organization’s account.
Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA and its sister organization, the National Center for Assisted Living, previously had expressed concern about potential Medicaid cuts under the legislation.
The bill would “sharply reduce Medicaid funds across the board for all beneficiaries, making it harder than ever to maintain access to care for the most vulnerable in our society,” he said.
Scott Tittle, executive director of NCAL, previously told McKnight’s Senior Living that “a robust Medicaid program is essential” because 125,000 residents rely on Medicaid for assisted living services.
Medicaid reform proposals, he said, “threaten access to care by setting caps on benefits to low-income seniors and individuals with disabilities.” NCAL, along with AHCA, had encouraged Congress to protect vulnerable populations.