Federal lawmakers were joined Wednesday on Capitol Hill by representatives of hospitals and other healthcare providers in opposition to a proposed $4 billion cut in Medicaid payments that they said would be detrimental to safety net hospitals and which would limit care to the nation’s neediest patients.
Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) said that if the proposed rule goes through, hospitals in his state could lose up to $159 million in funding, which "would devastate our rural providers." Freshman congressman Ron Klein (D-Fla.), who represents the hospital-heavy area of Broward and Palm Beach counties, said Florida could lose $932 million in federal-state funding.
In January, the CMS proposed a rule that narrows the definition of a public hospital and which says Medicaid payments to healthcare providers operated by local governments cannot exceed costs. The CMS said that rule would help Medicaid save $4 billion over five years. But a majority of congressional members have said they oppose the rule. Sixty senators and more than 220 House members have signed on to a letter opposing the administration’s cuts.
Larry Gage, president, National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, said that the proposed rule would "very seriously" compromise the ability of NAPH members and other safety net hospitals to serve Medicaid patients and the uninsured.