Long-Term Care Recommendations Sought
The National Governors Association in a recent letter to the federal Medicaid commission called for recommendations to improve long-term care for beneficiaries eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, CQ HealthBeat reports (CQ HealthBeat, 6/15).
The commission, whose members HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt appointed last July, was established as a result of negotiations over the fiscal year 2006 federal budget to make recommendations on short- and long-term reforms to Medicaid. Last September, the commission in a report to Congress made recommendations on how to reduce Medicaid spending growth by $10 billion over five years.
The commission by the end of December must issue a second report to Congress that includes recommendations on long-term reforms to Medicaid (California Healthline, 7/11/05).
In the letter, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), chair of NGA, and Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano (D), vice chair of the group, asked the commission to consider recommendations for increased coordination between Medicare and Medicaid for dual eligibles; continued efforts to promote community-based care; permanent adoption of programs that currently operate under federal waivers; and reforms in other areas, such as implementation of health care information technology and expansion of incentives to purchase long-term care insurance.
According to the letter, "Medicaid has become the nation's largest payer of long-term care services, funding approximately 50% of all long-term care spending and nearly two-thirds of costs for all nursing home residents ... Medicaid simply cannot continue to afford to be the predominant provider of long-term coverage for seniors" (CQ HealthBeat, 6/15).