||May 12, 2011
Dave Lemmon, Director of Communications
Bob Meissner, Deputy Director of Communications
Bryan Fisher, Press Secretary
House Republican Proposals Cutting Medicaid Could Devastate Pennsylvania’s Seniors and People with Disabilities
The Cutbacks Could Harm 817,600 Pennsylvania Seniors and People with Disabilities Who Depend on Medicaid, Many for Nursing Home and Other Long-Term Care
Washington, D.C.—As Republicans in the House of Representatives pass varying proposals to cut back Medicaid, including a new proposal enabling states to reduce program eligibility, a report released today shows these cuts could have a devastating impact on Pennsylvania’s 817,600 seniors and people with disabilities who depend on Medicaid as their lifeline.
The report by the consumer health organization Families USA shows that 12.3 percent of Pennsylvania’s seniors, and 58.8 percent of its people with disabilities, receive health coverage through the Medicaid program.
For many of Pennsylvania’s seniors and people with disabilities, their participation in Medicaid enables them to receive nursing home and other long-term care. Medicaid is the largest payer of nursing home care, and 62.2 percent of Pennsylvania’s nursing home residents receive coverage through the program. This Medicaid coverage saves families from economic devastation, because the average annual cost of a semi-private nursing home room in Pennsylvania was $90,500 in 2010.
In addition, Medicaid pays for care that makes it possible for 77,100 seniors and people with disabilities in Pennsylvania to remain living in their communities.
“Cutting Medicaid would devastate Pennsylvania’s seniors and people with disabilities, especially the many needing nursing home and other long-term care,” said Ron Pollack, Families USA’s Executive Director. “It would also cause havoc in families’ lives as more and more people are forced to give up jobs to take care of their loved ones.”
According to the Families USA report, cutting Medicaid’s long-term care coverage would also have an adverse impact on Pennsylvania’s economy. Based on the latest statistics available, there were 157,600 direct care workers providing long-term care services in Pennsylvania, many of whom would lose their jobs if Medicaid cut back eligibility for long-term care services. Additionally, this direct loss in jobs would have an adverse multiplier effect throughout Pennsylvania’s economy.
Based on the latest data available, in Pennsylvania there were 2.1 million informal caregivers—typically family members and friends—who provided help for seniors and people with disabilities needing long-term care. If Medicaid’s long-term care coverage is diminished, the burden on these caregivers’ lives would increase exponentially.
“Congressional Republicans voting to cut back Medicaid are doing a great disservice to our nation’s seniors, people with disabilities, and their families,” said Pollack. “This is the essence of anti-family budgeting, and we hope it will be reconsidered.”
A specific state fact sheet on this issue for Pennsylvania is available.
Families USA is the national organization for health care consumers. It is nonprofit and nonpartisan and advocates for high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans.
1201 New York Avenue NW, Suite 1100 · Washington, DC 20005
202-628-3030 · Email: firstname.lastname@example.org · www.familiesusa.org