President Barack Obama's recommended Medicare and Medicaid cuts issued today to the congressional deficit reduction supercommittee will reduce beneficiaries' access to care and eliminate at least 200,000 jobs over the coming decade, according to a leading hospital advocate.
Proposed cuts seen as threat to care, jobs
Richard Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association, blasted the president's ideas to reduce federal healthcare spending by $320 billion over 10 years as “the wrong prescription” for national health and employment, according to a written statement from the AHA (PDF).
“Further funding cuts would mean decreased access to care for our nation's seniors and could overload emergency rooms, shut down trauma units and reduce patient access to the latest treatments,” Umbdenstock said. “Hospitals already face significant reductions in Medicare and Medicaid, which both pay hospitals on average less than the cost of providing care.”
Obama's proposed cuts to graduate medical education also will cost “tens of thousands” of jobs, as well as exacerbate the national physician shortage, Dr. Darrell Kirch, president and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges, said in a statement.
“The dramatic cuts to graduate medical education (GME) as proposed in the president's plan would reduce the ability of teaching hospitals and physicians to care for the most vulnerable in our communities,” he said. “AAMC-member teaching hospitals represent 6 percent of hospitals, yet provide 21 percent of Medicare and 28 percent of Medicaid care.”
Obama's plan drew praise from the American Medical Association for using baseline projections that assume legislative action to overhaul Medicare physician payment rates and to eliminate looming cuts.
“Honest accounting of our nation's debt should not assume $300 billion in Medicare physician cuts, which Congress has rejected repeatedly because of the significant, detrimental impact those cuts would have on patients' access to care,” Dr. Peter Carmel, president of AMA, said in a statement.
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