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Urge Senator Susan Collins to Say NO to

Medicaid Caps & Cuts in Health Care Bill

 June 20, 2017

In the next few days or weeks, the U.S. Senate may swiftly consider their version of the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA)—a bill only a handful of Republican Senators have seen to date. However, it’s clear that the Senate version of AHCA will retain the House’s devastating cuts to ALL of Medicaid, including the in-home and nursing home care provided to thousands of vulnerable older Mainers.

AHCA would shift the current federal-state funding formula for Medicaid to a “per-capita cap”: no matter how costs rise, the federal government only pays a set amount per person, vs. a guaranteed percentage of the total cost (the way things are now). This leaves states holding the bag if the need for Medicaid services rises—such as greater demand for long-term care as our nation ages rapidly. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that AHCA would cut $834 billion from Medicaid over 10 years.

More than 2/3 of all MaineCare (Medicaid) spending is for long term care services for vulnerable older Mainers. The caps would be based on 2016 expenditures – a year that does not reflected greatly needed (and recently enacted) increased funding for direct care workers nor does it take into account the fact that we’re underspending for care because we don’t have enough workers to perform the care. It also doesn’t take into account that more and more Mainers will need these services soon. In short, these caps are badly flawed and would devastate the Maine economy.

Since states won’t be able to absorb that additional financial burden, Medicaid will no longer be the safety net so many Americans depend upon. Fewer people will qualify, fewer services will be available, consumers will have to pay more to access services and some providers will stop taking Medicaid.

It makes no sense to undermine the only long-term care option available to most Americans just as our country undergoes a transformational demographic shift to an aging nation.

Please reach out to Senator Collins immediately to share your concerns with her! Congress must hear from seniors, caregivers, service providers and other stakeholders about the importance of life-saving long-term services and supports in Medicaid.

How to Take Action:

· Put Your Concerns in Writing.

Email Senator Collins by using this contact form www.collins.senate.gov/contact.

AND/OR Make A Short Phone Call.

If you’d rather call than write Senator Collins, this is an easy way to be heard! Call (207) 945-0417 in Maine or (202)224-2523 to leave her a message in Washington DC.

Talking Points:

Medicaid is Critical to the Health and Well-Being of Thousands of Older Mainers

· Medicaid (MaineCare) pays for 2/3 of long-term care in Maine—more than any other source.

· AHCA cuts Medicaid, both acute care and long-term care. It does this by capping the amount of money the federal government contributes to Medicaid, which means states will be on the hook to cover federal cuts. States cannot absorb these costs!

· Total Medicaid cuts are more than $800 billion over 10 years.

· The cuts in AHCA could result in higher Medicaid costs and reduced care, including co-pays and premiums for consumers, and waiting lists for services.

· We must preserve Medicaid’s safety net guarantee in order to keep older adults healthy and living safely in their homes and communities!

· Because Maine is experiencing a significant workforce shortage, many older Mainers are already unable to access the home-based and nursing home care they need. Our staffing shortages have drastically reduced our Medicaid spending and any cap will not reflect our actual need.

Sample Script:

[IDENTIFY YOURSELF AS A CONSTITUENT AND SHARE ANY RELEVANT PERSONAL INFORMATION YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE SHARING. For example, “I live Dover-Foxcroft with my husband who is living with Alzheimer’s. I am his primary caregiver, but he also receives in-home services from MaineCare which allows us to be able to stay in our home of 45 years.”]

I am reaching out today to express my concern about and ask you to vote against any health care reform bills, like the American Health Care Act, that cap and cut Medicaid.

Changing the way that Medicaid is funded could lead to significant cuts to the health and long-term care programs many older Mainers and their families rely upon. That just doesn’t make sense. With more Americans living longer, we should be investing in our safety net programs like Medicaid at a time like this, not cutting them!

Please ensure that any new health care legislation does not cut Medicaid. Thank you.

Please take action now to #SaveMedicaid – and let me know what action you’ve taken! Thanks!

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M4A is leading efforts in Maine to address the impact of our aging demographic on our state’s economy and to build the kinds of systems we need to help older adults live long lives in their homes and communities.  We believe that older people are NOT the problem and are in fact a major part of the solution and one of best assets!  The problem IS that we’ve failed to adequate plan for the impact of a healthy aging population that is living longer and an aging workforce in a state with a very low birth rate and low in-migration.   M4A is leading efforts through the Maine Council on Aging to address these issues by building aging friendly communities that both address the immediate needs of older people but also attract younger workers to the state.  Sign up here to learn more about these efforts!

In addition, the threats to Maine seniors are coming almost daily now.  It’s sometimes hard to keep up with proposed changes to Medicare, Social Security, MaineCare, LIHEAP and state-funded programs.  It’s often even harder to make sense of what the impact will be on Maine seniors long term. 

If you want to stay informed and get involved, then sign up for our regular Advocacy Alerts.  We’ll let you know about ways you can support legislative efforts to keep Mainers aging healthy in their homes and fight against cuts that will have devastating impacts on many Maine seniors.

Sign up now!