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Byline: Colleen Diskin
Aug. 28--It's a political play that opens to audience grumbles every spring and plays to bad reviews through the fall.
The number crunchers in Washington and Trenton come up with a figure for how much nursing homes should be paid for caring for the sick and the poor. The industry shakes it head, and says it needs more money to pay its shrinking workforce of caregivers and to keep its doors open to some of the sickest of senior citizens.
This year's plot is no different, but the dialogue has reached an operatic pitch. With the state-run Medicaid program facing a possible shortfall of $330 million this year, activists are talking of a funding crisis in New Jersey. They also warn that a "Medicare cliff" waits at the end of the constantly swerving federal reimbursement road, with …