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NEW REPORT: GOP Lawsuit “Threatens Coronavirus-Ravaged Nursing Homes” & Long-Term Care Workers

Dangerous Republican Lawsuit to Overturn Health Care Law Would Make Nursing Homes “Collateral Damage”

A new MarketWatch report out today revealed that the dangerous Republican lawsuit to repeal the entire health care law, enabled by every single Senate Republican, would threaten nursing homes, making them “collateral damage” by unraveling oversight and resident protections, stripping many long-term care workers of health coverage, and undermining efforts to expand care options for seniors. The GOP lawsuit is escalating as many long-term-care facilities have been ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic and nursing home workers are providing critical care.

Despite the alarming reports, Senate Republicans are plowing forward with their agenda to “terminate” the health care law, which would also eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions, end Medicaid expansion, and kick an estimated 20 million Americans off their health coverage. Not a single incumbent GOP senator has taken action to oppose their party’s lawsuit to strike down the entire law, and every Senate Republican voted for the 2017 tax bill that “sparked” this harmful legal attack on our health care system.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

MarketWatch: Trump plan to kill Affordable Care Act threatens coronavirus-ravaged nursing homes
By Eleanor Laise
July 2, 2020

Key Points:

  • U.S. nursing homes, reeling from the impact of coronavirus, may become collateral damage from the Trump administration’s effort to overturn the Affordable Care Act, policy experts say.
  • The 2010 health law reformed the nursing-home sector, aiming to improve care, oversight and resident protections, and expanded home- and community-based care options.
  • In recent months, public nursing-home data mandated by the ACA, including details on staffing and ownership, have become critical to consumers, researchers and public-policy experts as they examine why some nursing homes were able to keep COVID-19 at bay while many others have been devastated by the virus.
  • “If the ACA were repealed, it would send a message — a very unhelpful message — that nursing-home transparency, accountability and improvement [are] not so important,” says Anne Montgomery, who helped craft the ACA’s nursing-home provisions as a policy adviser to the Senate Special Committee on Aging and is currently co-director of the Program to Improve Eldercare at the nonprofit research organization Altarum.
  • That message would be particularly ill-timed, policy experts say, as more than 50,000 long-term-care residents and staff have died of COVID, accounting for about 40% of known U.S. deaths from the virus, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis. “At a time when nursing homes are playing such a critical role in the pandemic, it’s truly important to look at additional regulations rather than unraveling” the improvements that came with the ACA, says Gretchen Jacobson, vice president of the Medicare program at the Commonwealth Fund.
  • While toppling the law wouldn’t necessarily erase all the reporting requirements, it would weaken resident protections, strip many nursing-home workers of health coverage, limit long-term-care options for many seniors, and undermine efforts to improve nursing-home quality at a critical moment, policy experts say. Janet Wells, a long-term-care public policy consultant in Washington, D.C., says the ACA “addressed some of the obvious weaknesses in implementation and enforcement” of previous nursing-home reform law.

Read the full report here.

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