Shaheen: Proposed Medicaid cuts would have ‘disproportionate impact’ on elderly

July 11, 2017

HUDSON – U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said Monday the Senate health care bill’s proposed cuts to Medicaid would have a disproportionate impact on elderly Americans.

The veteran New Hampshire Democrat shared her thoughts on the bill during a roundtable discussion at Fairview Healthcare, a rehabilitation, nursing care and assisted living facility in Hudson.

The discussion featured a variety of voices from the region’s health care industry, who shared their concerns about what cuts to the federal health insurance assistance program could mean.

The U.S. Senate is currently struggling to attain the 51 votes to pass the bill, which many have dubbed “Trumpcare,” despite Republicans holding a majority in the chamber.

Shaheen highlighted the fact that New Hampshire is the second-oldest state but receives the third-smallest Medicaid reimbursement in the country. She argued the money saved from cuts to Medicaid wouldn’t be used to benefit the people who need it the most.

“The money from those cuts is going to go to pay health insurance CEOs, pharmaceutical CEOs and go back to the top income earners in this country,” she said.

Brendan Williams, president and CEO of the New Hampshire Health Care Association, said the cuts would make it “quite impossible” for facilities like Fairview Healthcare to continue offering their services.

“This legislation would blow a hole, a gigantic hole, in New Hampshire’s budget,” he said.

The New Hampshire Health Care Association provides education, advocacy and communication services for health care entities in the state.

Williams praised Gov. Chris Sununu for opposing the health care bill.

Sununu said on CNN on June 29 that the cuts would have “drastic”repercussions for the state.

Many of those who spoke stressed that the state’s health care industry is already struggling because its workforce is aging and it can’t retain new workers.

Ann Finn-Waddell, the resident care director at Fairview Healthcare, said a major aspect of the problem is that many entry-level health care jobs don’t pay well.

“Some of them have to have two to three jobs just to survive,” Finn-Waddell said of her staff.

Williams said the state is facing “huge cuts at a time when we can’t afford to bear them.”

By:  Derek Edry
Source: Nashua Telegraph