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 Americans Don’t Want Ax To Fall On Nursing Homes, Poll Finds

​A vast majority of Americans would oppose cuts to nursing homes’ Medicare payments, a new poll sponsored by the American Health Care Association (AHCA) has found.

Told that Medicare cuts of more than $700 million would automatically take effect if an agreement on the so-called fiscal cliff isn’t reached, 46 percent of respondents said that they not only opposed cuts, but called on the government to increase payments to nursing homes. Another 41 percent said that the government shouldn’t make cuts to the long term care sector.

Another 61 percent of respondents said that they would likely support increased funding if it could demonstrate that nursing homes would close without extra help, pollsters found.

The poll, released Monday, was conducted by New York-based Opinion Access, which surveyed 806 registered voters online between November 16 and 19. The poll was funded by AHCA, which latched on to the results as proof that its industry should be protected from Washington’s ax.

“When it comes to skilled nursing centers and the care millions of Americans receive every year, the people have spoken—fiscal cliff negotiations should not include further cuts to seniors,” said Gov. Mark Parkinson, president and chief executive officer of AHCA. “We hope lawmakers heed these views that are important to their constituents. In fact, more, not less, funding should be the goal of policymakers as boomers continue to age.”

The nation is on the brink of the fiscal cliff because of an earlier impasse over the nation’s debt ceiling. When neither party could reach agreement on what to do about the debt ceiling, a “poison pill” of automatic cuts on government programs was written into the budget.

The axes will begin to fall at the end of the year unless Congress and the White House can come up with an agreement on taxes and spending.

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