On his Facebook page, Congressman Goodlatte reported on his July 10 visit to the Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community (VMRC) in Harrisonburg, to “talk with residents and staff.”
“Thanks for your questions and hospitality!” Goodlatte wrote.
It would be good to know what the questions were and how he answered them. Unfortunately we are unlikely to find out from the congressman, who prefers to keep his planned visits in the Sixth District– and the contents of those visits– closely-guarded secrets.
Did Goodlatte get any questions about his support for repealing the Affordable Care Act and replacing it with the American Health Care Act? Many residents of the VMRC depend on Medicaid to meet their living expenses, as the VMRC Foundation reports:
At any time, there are approximately 38 residents in Complete Living Care or Assisted Living who must depend on others for financial support, including Medicaid…
As The New York Times reported, Medicaid pays for most of the 1.4 million people in nursing homes. But the Republican-backed AHCA, as well as the Senate Republicans’ version of the bill, would make deep cuts to Medicaid.
Under federal law, state Medicaid programs are required to cover nursing home care. But state officials decide how much to pay facilities, and states under budgetary pressure could decrease the amount they are willing to pay or restrict eligibility for coverage.
“The states are going to make it harder to qualify medically for needing nursing home care,” predicted Toby S. Edelman, a senior policy attorney at the Center for Medicare Advocacy. “They’d have to be more disabled before they qualify for Medicaid assistance.”
States might allow nursing homes to require residents’ families to pay for a portion of their care, she added. Officials could also limit the types of services and days of nursing home care they pay for, as Medicare already does.
It would be nice to think Goodlatte could have provided assurance to all the residents of the Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community that they will be allowed to remain there as long as necessary, even if the Republican bill passes. But it’s hard to see how he honestly could have done that.