The article below is a top story from this week's ACTION newsletter—Care Providers of Minnesota's weekly newsletter for members. The newsletter focuses on current legislative issues, regulations, long-term care trends, and other Association news. Each Thursday evening, it is delivered to your inbox. To sign up for ACTION, contact Lisa Foss Olson (952-851-2483). To learn more about membership, visit our Become a Member page.
Will the federal shutdown impact senior services?
By Patti Cullen, CAE, President/CEO, Care Providers of Minnesota | January 4, 2019 | All Members
As we noted in the last issue of ACTION
for 2018, the federal shutdown will have limited direct implications on regulatory oversight and payment for long-term care services. The ongoing government shutdown that began on December 21, 2018, doesn't affect mandatory, entitlement, non-discretionary spending including all tax breaks, Medicaid, Medicare, Veterans Administration payments and Social Security, however there is a potential “ripple effect.”
Social Security & food stamps
Although Social Security checks are being sent, the partial shutdown is hurting seniors in other ways. Sixty-seven million seniors depend on many other government programs besides Social Security. For example, the Department of Agriculture may run out of money for food stamps (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) which means 4.8 million people
over 60 will not get full food assistance.
Further, the breakdown in Washington still hurts Social Security. The agency’s current fiscal 2019 budget, adopted just two days before the October 1, 2018, start of the fiscal year, reduced funding for beneficiary services and administration from their 2018 level. Customer service for beneficiaries was already suffering from years of administrative budget cutbacks, even as the number of Social Security beneficiaries has been growing with the retirement of the “baby boomers.”
On the regulatory side, the survey teams under the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are not affected by the limited federal government shutdown. Reviewing and processing 2567 and conducting federal monitoring surveys will continue as normal. CMS was fully funded for FY19 by HR6157—Department of Defense & Labor, Health & Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act, 2019 and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2019.
The state is monitoring crucial federal programs such as reimbursements to local governments hit with disasters, payments for federally backed transportation projects and money to inspect commercial vehicles for safety.
There are a range of services that are cut off as federal budget negotiations remain deadlocked such as: home buyers relying on federal housing assistance can’t close on their loans; residents and businesses can’t consult with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on end-of-the-year tax questions; small businesses can’t get federal loans; and immigration courts and federal parks around the state remain closed. Federal money is a significant source of revenue for all states, so there is the potential for financial aftershocks from any disruption in payments.