Dems Say New State Budget Would Close Nursing Homes

AUSTIN (AP) – Democratic lawmakers denounced the latest version of the state budget on Wednesday, saying it would close 50 percent of the state’s nursing homes and leave 43,700 elderly and disabled people without a facility to live in.

Lawmakers have been struggling to find a solution to the $27 billion revenue shortfall facing the state. Republicans have pledged to cut state spending and not raise revenues.

A proposal working its way through the House Appropriations committee this week would cut state Medicaid spending by 33 percent. The elderly and disabled take up 59 percent of Medicaid spending in Texas and much of it goes to nursing homes. Other Medicaid programs that help the elderly stay at home would be cut 40 percent.

State Rep. Dawnna Dukes, an Austin Democrat serving on the committee, said the draft budget would only provide nursing homes with 67 percent of what it actually costs to house, feed and treat the elderly and disabled. Many facilities use profits from other patients to offset losses on Medicaid patients, but many will not be able to stay in business if reimbursements are cut any further.

The Texas Health Care Association used data from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to forecast what the budget cuts mean for nursing homes statewide. In addition to the elderly and disabled who would lose their facilities, the group calculated that nursing homes would lay-off 60,000 workers.

“These are business, many of them small businesses, that provide vital skilled nursing and medical care to Texans who are in grave need and unable to care for themselves,” Dukes said. “We will be putting hundreds of nursing facilities out of business and forcing them to close their doors and leaving those they serve with nowhere to turn.”

“We are making life and death decisions in many cases,” Dukes added.

Republican leaders have repeatedly said that the state is broke and that difficult budget cuts are necessary. Others have cautioned that the final budget will be different from the draft budget. Democrats said if Republicans are planning any major changes from the current draft, they should bring those proposals forward now rather than wait and make backroom deals later in the session.

“If there is going to be additional funding, bring it to us now so that we can discuss and debate the priorities of everyone in the Legislature,” Dukes said.

Democrats make up less than a third of the Texas House. They urged Texans to call their legislators to protest the cuts.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Rick McDaniel

    The state’s obvious solution, is to tell seniors, to just hurry up and die!

    • StopSlickRick

      I wonder if they’ll use death panels.

  • Dems Say New State Budget Would Close Nursing Homes « Fort Worth News Feeds

    […] Dems Say New State Budget Would Close Nursing Homes Democrats denounced the latest version of the state budget, saying it would close 50 percent of the state’s nursing homes. Go to News Source […]

  • Kim Dar

    That’s right. Pick on those who they think will give them the least resistance. Well I for one hope they try this. Not one of them will have a job the next time they are up for re-election. There are a lot more of us seniors than there are any other age group. I knew being a baby boomer would come in handy someday. Hope no one decides to tick us off, because we CAN & WILL change some demographics around here. Who the heck do they think pays most of the salaries.Isit ain’t the 20 somthings, I can tell you that. Tricky Rick has his “rainy day” fund and he needs to tap into that. He thinks that fund is his own personal fund and I am beginning to think that fund needs to be audited to make sure all that money is there.

  • Bryan

    I hope they pull this off. It will amount to political suicide for each and every one of them. Slick Rick and his cronies need to get down to some SERIOUS work here and stop going after low-hanging fruit. BE LEADERS! I still can’t believe that there were enough people out there in this state who hadn’t seen through his veneer prior to the last election. I just hope they keep him in mind as they’re trying to find suitable housing for their elderly family members.

    • likeicare

      Maybe we can send them to Rick’s $10,000/month rent house we’re paying for.

  • callen

    Republicans don’t care because, in general, they can afford their own nursing care. Now, that said, there are tens of thousands of poor in Texas who have been dupped into voting Republican, not realizing the party is a SCAM, even often promoted from the pulpit at your local church. Republicans fleece the poor and stuff their money into their fat wallets. America, wake up! If America’s rich paid their FAIR share of taxes, we would not have the deficits we now face. The 400 richest families in the USA are now worth more than the 150 million poor and middle class. How fair is that? Ford Motor execs just got paid $50M this year. Who would do it for less? Wall Street employees, on average, get paid more in one year than the average Amerian earns in a lifetime. How fair is that? Of course we have to close nursing homes, THE RICH HAVE ALL THE CASH. Where is the balance?

  • Schroeder

    This is the small government Republicans have been crying for at it’s finest. I do hope that the people who have voted for the Republicans who have run Texas for so many years (or all the people who couldn’t be troubled to vote at all) enjoy caring for their elderly & disabled relatives in their homes.

  • Becca

    Here here Callen. But don’t worry about those seniors ending up on the street. The repubs are the party of the religious right and certainly they will step up to take them in. Hah. Here’s a cut that everyone would agreen with – pay cuts for Washinton. Why don’t we demand pay cuts for the fat politicians?

  • Keeping it real

    I have witnessed people putting their moms and dad’s in nursing homes AFTER they change the parents belongings into their name. If the parents kids were not so greedy, the state would sale their property to offset the cost of care. I have also been into some nursing homes that reeked of urine to the point of me barely being able to do my job. Why does every person posting blame solely the republicans? Ever thought MAYBE some democrat brought on his cousin that could not do the job, so he hires his nephew and on and on. We spend nearly half of our budget on education and some of the same people posting today did not want those programs touched either. Everything now days has a scam or spin, whether liberal or conservative. Do I like the choices, well heck no, but I also know when the money runs out you are forced with UGLY choices. Maybe someone can produce real choices and not fall back to the same OLD talking points that get regurgitated over and over about RIck Perry’. You folks are the first one to call a conservatist a racist if they disagree with the parting, golfing, liberal we have in D.C. PS: He had a Motown party last week, played golf this weekend and is having ANOTHER party tonight to watch the Hornets play his beloved Chicago Bulls, so EVERY politician is guilty of living good on the backs of tax payers!!! I am eager to see some comments that offer cost saying measures from anyone, especially liberals.

    • Keeping it real

      Last sentence should be cost saving not cost saying, just saying..

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