The debate over the healthcare bill continues.  With proposed cuts to Medicaid, experts say seniors could be at risk of getting proper care.  Nursing homes could be hit the hardest with potential budget cuts to the Repeal and Replace Plan.  

Experts from both the Brevillier Village and the Village at Luther Square say around 70% of their clients pay for their care through Medicaid.  Several Republican Senators voice concern about the GOP bill, largely due to its suggested cuts to Medicaid, according to ABC News.

The Senior Vice President at the Brevillier Village says the state’s funding for nursing facilities has not kept up with health care inflation.  Studies show in Pennsylvania, the losses equal more than $25 a day for every resident, and that’s rising.  Some experts say Medicaid funding should be increased, rather than decreased, like proposed in the potential health care bill, but others say it’s important that people know there are options for their senior loved ones.

Mark Gusek, CEO of Village at Luther Square, says, “the state is embarking on an initiative for consumer health choices which will do some pretty positive things for the consumer and give them some choices.”  Gusek says the state believes that initiative will save money in managing Medicaid and Medicare payments.  

“Particularly at our facility,” Guisek says, “we are about 72% Medicaid, which is a little bit higher than the state average.”  Gusek says applying for Medicaid is a difficult process…but many seniors rely on it.  He says there’s a slim chance the healthcare cuts could actually become a reality. 

Gusek adds, “It’s very difficult to change an entitlement let alone take massive cuts from an entire entitlement.” 

Experts from the Brevillier Village say the cuts could keep nursing home facilities from being able to accept as many Medicaid patients.  Vicky Wittuck, Senior Vice President of Brevillier Village explains, “It’s challenging when you have a very high Medicaid population and reinbursement doesn’t keep up with cost of living and the times and things like that.” 

Wittuck continues, “Pennsylvania has not prepared itself for the number of older adults that are going to be living in this state and by 2030 that 85 plus population is going to double and nobody is taking into consideration, where is the money going to come from?”

Even if the Medicaid budget stays stagnant, senior facilities will have a hard time keeping up with health cost inflation rates.  $80,000 plus nursing home beds, 2/3 paid for by Medicaid.

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A look at Medicaid in our city – YourErie