Health Care Bill Medicaid Cuts Could Hit North Dakota Nursing Homes Hard

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Under the proposed Senate health care bill, Medicaid is facing major cuts.

And with more than 14 percent of the North Dakota’s population over the age of 65, the new bill has some North Dakotans wondering about what’s coming next.
   
The cuts to Medicaid in the new Senate health care bill have some people worried.

“At the Price of nursing homes I couldn’t even afford to live half a month there, what then am I suppose to do?” Dianne Pedie, Bismarck resident say.

And she’s not alone .

Many North Dakotans I spoke to at the Burleigh County Senior Center are wondering what comes next when it comes to health care.

“I have no idea what’s going to happen to the old people,” Pedie says.

The new bill has organizations like the North Dakota Long Term Care Association and local nursing homes speaking out against the cuts.


“Right now in the Senate version there are a lot less dollars for long term care,” Shelly Peterson, North Dakota Long Term Care Association says.

Baptist Health Care Center in Bismarck houses 140 residents of those 140, 57 percent require help from Medicaid to pay for care.

The administrator says if those benefits are cut residents won’t be the only ones who feel the effects.

“If we cannot fund, if we cannot provide raises to attract or retain present staff, the care will diminish,” Augie Pepple, Baptist Health Care Center says.

Long Term Care reports under the bill, nursing homes are looking at a 22 percent Medicaid cut.

And with cuts come the potential for wage decreases and operating with less staff to care for residents.

Which could lead to the elderly looking outside their communities for care.

“There could be the potential for ceasing to admit residents if we cannot properly care for them,” Pepple says.

For this North Dakotan, cutting Medicaid is not the answer to the health care problem.

“It’s expensive, it’s very expensive, but it’s a big problem when a lot of the people in the United States are going to become older,” Pedie says.

It has Pedie wondering if she’ll be able to afford the care me might need as she gets older.

Cuts proposed in the Senate bill are raising concerns from both sides of the aisle.

As it stands, both North Dakota U.S. Senators Heidi Heitkamp and John Hoeven say they do not support the bill as it stands.

A bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act passed the House but the Senate bill has yet to be put to a vote.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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