New Texas Poll: 78% Say Fund Seniors' Medicaid Nursing Home Care at Level State Health Officials Say Needed

Mar 05, 2013, 08:55 ET from Texas Health Care Association

72% of Republicans, 82% of Independents, 83% of Democrats Say Fully-Fund Texas Seniors' Nursing Home Care

AUSTIN, Texas, March 5, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new poll of Texas voters conducted by Baselice & Associates for the Texas Health Care Association (THCA) finds broad-based support among voters at-large and among Republicans, Independents and Democrats for THCA's push to ensure seniors' Medicaid-financed nursing home care is actually funded at the level state health care officials say is needed to meet the cost of providing that care. The survey of 836 registered voters was conducted 2/20-24, and has an error margin of +/- 3.4%.

The specific question states: "The Texas Health and Human Services Commission recently estimated that Texas nursing homes need nearly one billion dollars in new Medicaid funding just to keep up with the cost of caring for elderly and disabled Texans over the next two years. Do you favor or oppose the legislature fully funding Medicaid for low income seniors in nursing homes at the levels the state itself says is needed to meet the cost of providing this care?"

78% favor full funding at the levels the state itself says is needed, while 14% oppose, and 8% are unsure. The polling crosstabs further show that 72% of Republicans, 82% of Independents and 83% of Democrats favor full funding at the level the state says is needed.

"With over $50 million cuts to Medicare-funded Texas nursing home care related to the congressional 'sequester' -- on top of $58 million Medicaid cuts in 2011 – Texas seniors and the facilities in which they reside have never been under greater pressure," stated Tim Graves, President of THCA. "We intend to ensure the Legislature understands the care of local seniors and the jobs of local staff are in significant jeopardy, and that there is wide support among Republicans, Independents and Democrats alike for funding Medicaid our state health officials say is needed," he continued.

Graves pointed out that the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) estimates Medicaid spending in the 2014-2015 Biennium will require an additional $925 million – nearly $1 billion -- just to meet today's cost of caring for the nearly 60,000 Medicaid-dependent elderly and disabled Texans living in nursing homes. This forces facilities themselves to pick up the tab for nearly $1 billion as facilities struggle with a worsening budget squeeze, he pointed out.

"So far, the Texas Legislature has not come close to adequately addressing this important budget priority, and it is time to make sure the nursing home funding our parents and grandparents deserve is there in fact -- not just a future goal," the THCA leader continued. "State government should do what itself says is necessary and adjust for the first time since 1999 the Medicaid funding required to preserve and protect quality care for Texas' most vulnerable seniors."

Other key findings of the Baselice survey:

  • When hearing about Medicaid cuts in the last budget, 88% indicate ensuring adequate Medicaid funding is just as important as other top priorities this Session such as transportation, water and education; 8% said it was not as important; 4% were unsure.
  • After hearing about possible consequences of not increasing Medicaid funding for seniors in nursing homes (staff wage freezes, possible staff layoffs, or even facility closures) 77% favor increasing Medicaid funding; 13% oppose; 9% are unsure.

Baselice & Associates Polling Memo Available

SOURCE Texas Health Care Association