As the deficit-reduction supercommittee plans to meet this week, the American Hospital Association is urging its members to educate Washington lawmakers about how Medicare and Medicaid cuts to providers would hurt hospitals and their communities.
AHA urges members to warn lawmakers about impact of Medicare cuts
In an 18-page “legislative advocacy alert (PDF),” the AHA took a position on five separate issues that are at risk if cuts to providers take effect. These include cuts to graduate medical education; Medicaid provider assessments (which, the AHA noted, allow state governments to expand coverage); Medicare bad-debt reimbursement; rural or small hospitals; and the post-acute-care segment.
Payment cuts to graduate medical education would limit the ability of teaching hospitals to train the next generation of physicians, the AHA said, while reducing or altogether eliminating Medicare bad debt could result in the loss of services and programs for beneficiaries. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2012 budget proposal called for $18.4 billion in reductions over 10 years to Medicaid provider assessments. “Medicaid, on average, covers only 89 cents of every dollar spent treating Medicaid patients,” the AHA said in its notice to members. “Changes to the provider assessment program would further exacerbate this problem.”
On Tuesday, the 12-member supercommittee—led by co-chairs Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas)—will meet to discuss the history and drivers of America’s debt and its threats.
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