Poll: 72% of Texas Tea Party Voters Say Fund Seniors' Medicaid Nursing Home Care at Level State Health Officials Say Needed

Mar 27, 2013, 16:02 ET from Texas Health Care Association

THCA Says Strong Across The Board Support for Protecting Seniors' Nursing Home Care Warrants Attention From Legislature

AUSTIN, Texas, March 27, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Noting a recent poll of Texas voters conducted by Baselice & Associates for the Texas Health Care Association (THCA) finds 72% of voters who share Tea Party views "all or most of the time" agree seniors' Medicaid-financed nursing home care should be funded at the level state health care officials say is needed to meet the cost of providing that care, THCA President Tim Graves said the matter warrants far more attention from the Texas Legislature.

"Thus far, SB 1 insufficiently addresses the fact Texas nursing homes, their patients and caregivers have been pounded by a series of state and federal funding cuts that places Texas' entire long term care system at risk," Graves warned. "We want the Legislature to know that ensuring Texas' most vulnerable frail, elderly and disabled citizens get the care and state Medicaid funding they require has extremely strong support across the entire political spectrum."

Overall, 78% favor full funding at the levels the state itself says is needed, while 14% oppose, and 8% are unsure. 72% of Republicans, 82% of Independents and 83% of Democrats favor full funding at the level the state says is needed. 72% of voters who share Tea Party views "all or most of the time" agree, as do 73% of self-described "conservative Republicans."

The specific polling 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?"

The Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) consolidated budget outline for Medicaid spending in the 2014-2015 biennium estimates that a 16.84% rate increase -- $372 million in General Revenue (GR) and $925 million in all funds – is needed simply to meet the cost of caring for today's nearly 60,000 elderly and disabled Texans living in nursing homes.

Asked what actions they may be forced to consider in 2013 as a result of the worsening funding squeeze, Texas nursing homes reported the following that 84.3% of facilities may have to freeze wages; 81.8% may have to defer facility expansions or renovations; 78.4% may have to defer investment in new technology, therapy equipment; 75% may have to defer, reduce or change staff benefits; 31.1% may have to lay off direct care staff; 18.4% may be forced to consider actually closing their facility.

The survey of 836 RV's was conducted 2/20-24, and has an error margin of +/- 3.4%.

Additional information on poll and THCA facility survey methodology notes available at www.txhca.org

About THCA
Founded in 1950, the Texas Health Care Association (THCA) is the largest long-term care association in Texas. THCA's membership is comprised of several hundred licensed non-profit and for-profit skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), specialized rehabilitation facilities and assisted living facilities in Texas. These facilities provide comprehensive, around-the-clock nursing care for chronically ill or short-term residents of all ages, along with rehabilitative and specialized medical programs. THCA also represents more than 190 long-term care businesses that provide products and services to the state's approximately 2,850 nursing homes and assisted living facilities. To learn more, visit http://txhca.org/ or connect with THCA on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

SOURCE Texas Health Care Association