As debates over the federal budget and deficit come up against deadlines throughout the year, Medicare and Medicaid remain potential targets for policymakers in search of savings, officials with the American Hospital Association told industry executives gathered in Chicago.
The trade group, meanwhile, will seek to draft legislation to delay by a year cuts to disproportionate-share payments scheduled for October under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, said Ashley Thompson, the association's vice president of policy.
The law will cut disproportionate-share payments, which offset losses for treating low-income patients, and redistribute the payments under rules that are expected this spring.
Thompson said the law's disproportionate-share cuts were intended to balance an expected increase in insurance coverage that's scheduled to start in January 2014, three months after cuts take effect. And with uncertainty over the progress of health insurance exchanges, one of the law's major vehicles to expand insurance coverage, a one-year delay will allow more time for expansion of coverage, Thompson said.