Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Ways and Means health subcommittee, said he would target Medicare inflation updates to hospitals and other provider groups to pay for healthcare-related initiatives on Capitol Hill. In comments made to the Washington newsletter CongressDaily, Stark said he would look at payment updates across the board to find new pockets of funding, including those for skilled-nursing facilities, home-health providers, long-term acute-care facilities and others.
It is uncertain whether other Democrats on the committee will follow the influential chairman’s lead. Stark told the publication that he would court Republican support, an indication that he faces opposition from his own party. Richard Pollack, executive vice president of the American Hospital Association, said the association would strongly resist the use of "payments for hospital services as a piggy bank." Stark’s office did not provide further comment.