Greens at Cannondale responds to Medicaid cut scare

Somewhere along the way, the Republican crusade to repeal Obamacare also turned into an effort to limit the future growth of Medicaid. That bit of mission creep is complicating prospects for the GOP, and could lead to deadlock, but it raises concerns about the aged for Ron Bucci, executive director of Wilton Meadows, a care facility for the elderly.

The federal-state program for low-income people has long been stigmatized as substandard, and under this GOP proposal, would see dramatic reductions in federal funding, which would result in large budget gaps for the states, according to analyst Caroline Pearson of the consulting firm Avalere Health.

A Congressional Budget Office estimate released in late June said the Senate bill's biggest impacts on spending would come from Medicaid. In 2026, the federal contribution would be $160 billion lower than under current law, and 15 million fewer people would be covered through the program.

That catches Bucci’s attention.

The Greens at Cannondale and Wilton Meadows are concerned about the proposed Senate Healthcare Bill,” Bucci said in a statement requested by the Bulletin.

He said the community of 265 elderly residents is fortunate to have non-Medicaid reimbursement sources to mitigate the negative effects of the bill, and will remain on firm ground,  but his concern extends to many low-income seniors who depend on Medicaid to fund their healthcare needs, who will lose access to necessary care and services.

“The days of independent seniors receiving Medicaid-funded care are long gone — seniors today are often completely disabled by acute and chronic medical conditions and, often, various forms of dementia including Alzheimer’s disease,” Bucci said.

“Our communities are built around the care and honoring of seniors and it is heartbreaking to think of a senior who has no way to access nursing home, mental health and other life-saving forms of care,” Bucci said.

Bucci is not the only one concerned. Nationwide, the pressure has been turned on high for Republicans to step back. Republicans including Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Dean Heller of Nevada, and Govs. John Kasich of Ohio, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, and Doug Ducey of Arizona have all expressed misgivings about the Senate's GOP health care bill.

Late last month, the National Association of Medicaid Directors, a nonpartisan group that represents state administrators of the program, said in a statement from its board that the legislation is unworkable, and called it "a transfer of risk, responsibility, and cost...of historic proportions."

Facing a growing outcry, the White House and some Republican leaders are pushing back hard, arguing their legislation would not cut Medicaid, because spending on the program would keep growing, just not as fast.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.