We are grateful to Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Sen. Max Baucus, DMont., Rep. Bill Thomas, R-Calif., Rep. Nancy Johnson, R-Conn., and Rep. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., for working in a bipartisan manner to craft and introduce H.R. 6408.

We urge Congress to pass this legislation, which will extend Medicare therapy caps exceptions
process through 2007 and prevent cuts in the Medicaid reimbursement system by setting a maximum allowable provider tax rate at 5.5 percent through 2011.

Without an extension of the exceptions process, thousands of seniors recovering from strokes, hip replacements and other serious conditions will need to forgo necessary occupational, speech and physical therapy or find a way to pay for it themselves. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates that 80 percent of seniors who applied for coverage over the $1,740 therapy cap would qualify for it, and that nearly 600,000 beneficiaries would have exceeded it.

Provider tax cuts must be prevented because the resulting sharp reduction in Medicaid funding would remove resources used to enhance nursing care, activities and other services for nursing home residents.

AAHSA is advancing a framework for more rational and effective financing for long-term care that would reduce our reliance on Medicaid. But in the absence of current alternatives, it is essential to keep Medicaid reimbursement stable to ensure quality for our nation’s nursing home residents.

Larry Minnix
President and CEO
American Association of Homes and
Services for the Aging (AAHSA)