APA Practice Organization
FYI, McKnight's Long Term Care web updates:
Louisiana considers cut in Medicaid payments to providers. The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals is preparing for an across-the-board cut of 6-7% in Medicaid payments for nursing homes, private hospitals, doctors and other providers. Uncertainty over federal assistance has forced the state to consider these cuts, said Fred Cerise, secretary of the department. The U.S. Senate and House have approved different versions of a proposal to allow the state to temporarily forego its usual Medicaid contribution. The statešs Medicaid spending has been reduced by $260 million following Hurricanes Rita and Katrina because beneficiaries have relocated elsewhere.
April 11, 2005
TO: State and Practice Division Federal Advocacy Coordinators, APAGS Coordinators and State Psychological Association Executive Directors
FROM: Marilyn Richmond, Assistant Executive Director for Government Relations, American Psychological Association Practice Organization
CC: Russ Newman, Executive Director
RE: Support Needed in Medicaid Budget Battle
Congressional budget negotiators will soon discuss whether to cut the Medicaid program, which is the largest source of funding for mental health services in the nation (SAMHSA, 2004) despite the fact that mental health services are included only as an optional service for states to provide.
Before any harmful cuts are made, we believe that Medicaid deserves a more careful review than is possible through the Budget Resolution in the coming weeks. We strongly support the Senate version of this legislation, which rejects proposed Medicaid cuts and instead creates a Bipartisan Commission on Medicaid to devise reforms and report back in one year.
If we are ever to succeed in making mental health services part of the mandatory package of services provided to Medicaid beneficiaries (rather than optional as they are now for all but children in EPDST), we must work to preserve the overall funding for this vital program. Medicaid advocates believe that cuts in Federal Medicaid funds in this Budget Resolution will increase the likelihood that states will choose to cap spending on optional services and populations.
Constituents Should Urge Conferees and House Republicans To Support the Senate Position on Medicaid!
Customize a pre-written letter at <www.APAPractice.org> with just a few clicks of your mouse.
1. Enter your zip-code in the Legislative Action Center box located on the right side of the screen
2. Select the link to make your voice heard on the "Medicaid Budget Battle"
3. Confirm your Congressional District by entering your zip-code in the "Take Action Now" box
4. Edit the pre-written letter as you would like and select "Send Message" after entering in your name and address
The Senate Members of the Conference Committee are Senators Judd Gregg (R-NH), Pete Domenici (R-NM), Charles Grassley (R-IA), Wayne Allard (R-CO), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) and Patty Murray (D-WA). The House Conferees are yet to be decided, but are likely to include Representatives Jim Nussle (R-IA), Jim Ryun (R-KS), Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), Adam Putnam (R-FL), John Spratt (D-SC), Dennis Moore (D-KS) and Richard Neal (D-MA).
House Republican Members should also be encouraged to support the Senate position on Medicaid, especially if they are considering signing on to Representative Heather Wilson's April 13 Dear Colleague letter supporting such a commission. (See below)
In February, the Bush Administration proposed program efficiencies to reduce Medicaid funds by a net $45 billion over the next ten years. This was part of larger proposed cut in entitlement spending to help the President meet his goal of reducing the annual deficit by 50% in five years.
APA was among the first groups to endorse a bill (S. 338) by Senators Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) to create a Medicaid commission of expert stakeholders -- governors, state legislators, state Medicaid directors, providers and consumers -- to make recommendations on the populations served, financial sustainability and quality of care.
Identical legislation was introduced in the House by Representative Heather Wilson (R-NM) and Delegate Donna Christensen (D-VI) (H.R. 985). Both bills have strong bipartisan support. The bill sponsors are hoping to build on the positive experience of the 1997 Medicare Commission that recommended the most cost-effective ways to improve service delivery and quality.
When the House Budget Committee met to consider a spending plan, Members proposed $20 billion in Medicaid cuts, a position that was adopted by the full House. The Senate Budget Committee voted to include a cut of $14 billion in Medicaid growth over five years. But, on March 17 the full Senate voted 52-48 to accept a Smith/Bingaman amendment striking the proposed $14 billion cut and instead create a Bipartisan Medicaid Commission that would recommend reforms within one year. We need your support to help ensure that the Senate position prevails in the House-Senate negotiation on the Budget Resolution.
Representative Heather Wilson is asking House Republicans to cosign an April 13 letter to House Budget Committee Chairman Nussle calling for no cuts to the Medicaid program, and instead urging funding to create a Medicaid commission. To quote from the letter,
"As detailed in H.R. 985, a Commission would serve as a credible forum for an honest, open discussion and the development of comprehensive recommendations on how we can reform the Medicaid program. The Commission would be the right setting at the right time to carefully deliberate and recommend solutions to improve the health of low-income Americans and put the program - one of the most complicated federal programs we oversee - on a stronger financial and management footing."
MATERIALS (you will need to register with the APAPractice.org to access these sites)
* Read the APA Practice Update article on Medicaid at http://www.apapractice.org/apo/insider/leg/what0/strips.html#
* The fact sheet by Senators Smith and Bingaman is located at http://www.apapractice.org/apo/insider/leg/medicare/fact.html#
* Additional advocacy information is also available at http://www.medicaidmatters2005.org/
The Honorable (full name) or The Honorable (full name)
United States House of Representatives United States Senate
Washington, DC 20515 Washington, DC 20510
Dear Representative (last name) Dear Senator (last name)
I am writing as a psychologist and constituent to urge you to help the Senate position on Medicaid prevail in the conference on the 2006 Budget Resolution.
Medicaid deserves a more careful review than is possible through the Budget Resolution this spring. Medicaid is the largest funder of mental health services in the nation, and because it is included only as an optional service for states to provide, I am extremely concerned about the potential impact that cuts may have. A dramatic reduction in the Federal share of Medicaid funds may encourage states to cap spending on optional services and populations.
While the House seeks a $20 billion cut in Medicaid growth, the Senate rejected proposed Medicaid cuts and instead proposes a Bipartisan Commission on Medicaid to devise reforms and report back in one year. This panel would be composed of expert stakeholders -- governors, state legislators, state Medicaid directors, providers and consumers -- to make recommendations on the populations served, financial sustainability and quality of care.
As Representative Heather Wilson and colleagues explain in a letter to House Budget Chairman Nussle,
"...a Commission would serve as a credible forum for an honest, open discussion and the development of comprehensive recommendations on how we can reform the Medicaid program. The Commission would be the right setting at the right time to carefully deliberate and recommend solutions to improve the health of low-income Americans and put the program - one of the most complicated federal programs we oversee - on a stronger financial and management footing."
I hope that you will oppose Medicaid cuts and support the creation of a Bipartisan Medicaid Commission. Thank you for considering my views.