Nursing Home ‘gloom and doom’ is speculation
The case for selling the Orleans County Nursing Home (“The Villages of Orleans”) rests on speculation (See “Frequently Asked Questions” on the county website). Some of it suggests declining Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement. The “specter” of the impact of Obamacare has been raised in “Frequently Asked Questions.” There has been an attempt to focus our attention on the county’s burdensome higher retirement system contributions during the past four years.
Experts at a meeting held recently in Batavia called much of this speculation into question. One expert did say, “Medicaid reimbursement cannot be expected to increase (under the Governor’s Medicaid Re-design).”
The same source noted that the State Retirement system suffered a 26 percent loss during the stock market decline in late 2008. The fund decreased from $154.4 billion to $108.5 billion at the market’s low point. As a result, municipalities such as Orleans County were hit with much higher retirement system contributions.
The fund has since recovered to over $160 billion, in spite of paying out $9 billion in benefits in the past year. A well-informed source at the meeting indicated that the higher rates of municipal contributions are likely to decline as of March 2014.
In regard to the impact of “Obamacare,” two participants knowledgeable on the subject of health insurance said that insurance provider competition under The Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) would likely lower the cost of employee health insurance for a county.
The portrait of doom and gloom being painted by Orleans County leaders was not substantiated by the experts who took part in these discussions.
(Crane is chairwoman of the Orleans County Democratic Committee.)