New Bipartisan National Poll on Medicare Funding and America's Nursing Home Care

82% Oppose Reducing Medicare Funding to U.S. Nursing Home Care; 55% "Strongly Oppose";

90% Say Funding for U.S. Nursing Home Care Should Either "Remain Same" or "Increase";

69% Support 3 Year Phase-In of 2011 Medicare Regulation Reducing Funding by 11.1%

WASHINGTON, Feb. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives begin making crucial budgetary decisions for FY 2013, a new bipartisan national survey conducted for the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care by Public Opinion Strategies and Hart Research Associates finds that after hearing that Medicare funds are used to help pay for nursing home care, 82% of registered voters (RVs) oppose reducing Medicare funding for seniors' nursing home care; 90% say funding for U.S. nursing home care should either "remain the same" or "increase"; 69% support the concept of phasing-in a 2011 Medicare regulation that reduced Medicare funding by 11.1% all at one time.

The new survey, conducted January 26-30, surveyed 800 RVs (700 landline/100 cell), and has an error margin of +/- 3.46%. The national RV sample is 38% Republican, 41% Democrat and 20% Independent. By party, 86% of Democrats, 83% of Independents, and 78% of Republicans oppose reducing the amount Medicare pays nursing homes. Seniors (age 65+), who tend to be more affected by these cuts, are even more opposed, at 87%.

"These poll results underscore the importance that the American people place on the Medicare program. A majority of voters of all political affiliations express serious concerns about and opposition to cuts in the Medicare program generally, and specifically to cuts in Medicare payments to nursing homes," said Bill McInturff and Geoff Garin, of Public Opinion Strategies and Hart Research Associates, respectively, who conducted the survey.

In releasing the data, Alan G. Rosenbloom, President of the Alliance, stated, "In addition to showing overwhelming opposition to reducing Medicare funding for nursing home care, the bipartisan survey finds an 8-1 margin supports the concept of phasing-in a Medicare regulation that – from a sector stability standpoint -- has removed too much from the Medicare funding stream, too quickly. A phase-in can help alleviate documented direct care job losses and the risk this poses to lawmakers' most vulnerable constituents. Moreover, a phase-in has precedent with other providers experiencing difficulties adjusting to new government payment systems."

The following are the poll questions for the results noted above. All questions and results are available here.

Would you ... (ROTATE) ... favor or oppose ... the government reducing the amount Medicare pays to nursing homes? (IF FAVOR/OPPOSE, THEN ASK:) And do you strongly (favor/oppose) that or just somewhat (favor/oppose) the government reducing the amount Medicare pays to nursing homes?

15%    TOTAL FAVOR

82%    TOTAL OPPOSE

6%      STRONGLY FAVOR

9%      SOMEWHAT FAVOR

27%    SOMEWHAT OPPOSE

55%    STRONGLY OPPOSE

3%      NO OPINION/DON'T KNOW

Currently, Medicare funds are used to help pay for nursing home care for America's seniors. Now, knowing this ... Please tell me whether you think the federal government should

(ROTATE 1‐2) ... increase ... decrease ... or provide the same level of funding to nursing homes?

39%    INCREASE

6%      DECREASE

51%    REMAIN THE SAME

4%      DON'T KNOW/REFUSED

Last year, the federal government cut Medicare payments to nursing homes more than eleven percent in one year, in part to address an overpayment that may have been made in previous years. With respect to this cut, would it be better to ... (ROTATE 1‐2) ... or do you not have an opinion about this one way of the other?

8% Make these cuts over the one year time period in order to provide the federal government with an immediate savings on health care costs and provide the government with a refund for the services that were previously overpaid by Medicare.

OR

69% Spread these cuts over a three year time period in order to prevent further job loss at local nursing homes and to protect the quality of care nursing homes provide to America's seniors.

21%    NO OPINION

2%      REFUSED

SOURCE Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care

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