LeadingAge & the AHCA/NCAL are Engaging in Harmful Propaganda: They Need to Stop It!
Lobbyists for the nursing home industry, LeadingAge and AHCA/NCAL are promoting what they call “Care for Our Seniors Act,” which sets forth some laudable reforms they would like to see implemented along with an increase in funding (see: https://leadingage.org/care-our-seniors-act). I’m all for increasing Medicaid funding. I’m all for some of the reforms they are pushing such as enhanced infection control preventionists, 24 hour registered nurses on staff, minimal personal protective equipment – all of which should have been in place before COVID. These are reforms that providers could have and should have provided and should now provide without more taxpayer funding that will be dedicated to increasing yield for investors.
Medicaid funding increases proposed by LA & AHCA/NCAL are all designed to increase reimbursement, e.g., “Enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (EFMAP).” One of their ruses to get advocates on board is the proposal for a shift to private rooms by developing “a national study producing data on conversion costs and a recommended approach to make this shift.” The study may happen, but the shift won’t unless the taxpayers are willing to pay for it – even though investors are extracting enough excess cash now to pay for these changes and still earn a respectable return on their investments.
The most despicable aspects of this proposal are the falsehoods used by LA and AHCA/NCAL for political framing. For instance, their propaganda in the link cited above totally exonerates the industry and blames staff and government – not the real owners, i.e., investors, for lack of pandemic preparedness. They fail to mention the generous COVID related federal and state subsidies provided to the industry, which were funneled into stock dividends and executive compensation. This statement appeared in the latest issue of Provider, the industry’s trade publication: “With the majority of nursing homes already operating on a razor-thin margins, the cost of making improvements will not be possible without financial assistance.”
The nursing home industry and their lobbyist propagandists are treating advocates, activists, scholars, legislators, and the public in general with extraordinary disrespect. That needs to stop! If the industry is not willing to provide evidence to support their “razor thin margins” nonsense and stop treating us all like imbeciles, then their proposals should receive absolute zero credibility and no support from any of us.