A coalition of hospital groups called on Congress to kill a controversial Medicare capital provision contained in pending federal balanced-budget legislation, adding to the list of groups working against the measure.
The provision would expand hospital eligibility for extra Medicare capital payments and could shift as much as $1 billion annually to large urban hospitals at the expense of nonqualifying hospitals (July 7, p. 2).
The coalition opposing the provision includes the Association of Iowa Hospitals and Health Systems, the Catholic Health Association, the California Healthcare Association, and the Illinois Hospital and HealthSystems Association.
In a letter to Congress last week, the coalition said the provision "represents bad public policy and ought to be rejected entirely."
Those organizations join several others already on record against the provision. They include the Federation of American Health Systems, the Rural Referral Center/Sole Community Hospital Coalition and a group of Chicago-area hospitals.
The American Hospital Association has stayed neutral on the issue so far.
According to several sources, proponents of the measure have offered a compromise that would cap the amount of Medicare capital payments that could be transferred to eligible hospitals at an undisclosed level.
But opponents of the change said they are not willing to accept a compromise.
"At this point what we want to see is this provision eliminated," said Susan Foote, a lobbyist at the firm of Durenberger/Foote in Washington, which represents several hospitals opposing the measure.