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Letter: Urge Senators to keep Medicaid

In a matter of days, the U.S. Senate plans to vote on a proposal that will change Medicaid as we know it. For the past 52 years, Medicaid has been a partnership between the federal government and states – serving our seniors and most vulnerable citizens.

If the American Health Care Act is enacted, Minnesota will lose millions of dollars in federal funding for Medicaid. We will be forced to make difficult choices on which Minnesotans should receive care and what type of care they should receive.

At Thorne Crest Senior Living Community we provide quality healthcare and housing for the seniors of Albert Lea and surrounding communities. These proposed Medicaid cuts would affect the financial system that supports many of the services we provide. The cuts will affect individuals as well as many organizations that provide services to the senior population; organizations such as Thorne Crest. One key area that will be affected is staffing, which is already challenged due to a shortage of individuals going into the healthcare and long-term care fields. The proposed cuts would limit the financial resources available for providing wages to staff and make it increasingly difficult to find and retain qualified individuals to meet the needs of this expanding population. A majority of the senior population depend on Medicaid for their healthcare needs. Cutting this program is short-sighted and the results would be devastating to our elderly population, their families and those who serve them.

Stripping federal dollars from innovative states that do more with less is not the answer. Reforms should reward states like Minnesota that work hard to help seniors age well in the places they call home.

This year and every year until 2030, 60,000 Minnesotans will turn 65. Cutting Medicaid for seniors at a time of tremendous growth in the older adult population will be disastrous. Contact your representatives in Congress today and tell them that cutting Medicaid for seniors is the wrong policy at the wrong time.

Chris Schulz, Albert Lea