Leaders of investor-owned hospitals will gather in Washington this week to air their concerns about Medicare payment cuts and the U.S. Supreme Court case challenging the Affordable Care Act premium subsidies.
The Federation of American Hospitals hosts its annual policy meeting Monday and Tuesday. CEO Chip Kahn said the Supreme Court's King v. Burwell case understandably will be a major focus of the conference. His and other hospital associations filed a friend-of-the-court brief siding with the Obama administration, arguing that striking down the subsidies “would be a disaster for millions of lower- and middle-income Americans.”
“Congress could solve the problem in a nanosecond,” Kahn said. “But health reform is the great political divide.”
FAH members also are pushing policymakers to scale back ACA cuts to hospitals' Medicare disproportionate-share payments that help cover the costs of serving indigent and uninsured patients. The cuts are particularly a problem in the 22 states that haven't expanded Medicaid to low-income adults. Hospital leaders also want to head off any congressional moves to make them the piggy bank for funding this year's annual Medicare payment “doc fix.”
“Hospitals have contributed mightily in cuts,” Kahn said. “We're at a point where we can't sustain this anymore.”
HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, House Ways and Means Chair Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) are scheduled to speak at the meeting.