Feeling unheard in the House, the American Hospital Association is turning to the Senate to stop the American Health Care Act from becoming law.
The hospital industry's largest lobbying organization met and shared its concerns with House leadership about provisions of the law it feels will result in millions of people losing coverage, which could ultimately harm the financial stability of many hospitals when their uncompensated-care costs soar.
"We cannot support the bill in its present form," Rick Pollack, CEO of the AHA, said at a news conference Friday.
The AHA is concerned that the bill will cut billions in Medicaid funding, roll back the program's expansion and provide low income and older individuals with inadequate tax credits to afford coverage.
The Obamacare replacement bill does not repeal the Affordable Care Act's Medicare disproportionate-share cuts, which complicates matters. The cuts were made under the assumption that additional coverage from individual marketplace and Medicaid expansion would reduce the need for the payments.
If coverage is not maintained at the current level, those resources need to be returned to hospitals and health systems in order to provide services to a likely increased number of uninsured Americans, Pollack said in a March 7 letter to House leadership.
House officials have been unmoved by the industry's concerns, Pollack said.
“It doesn't appear as if they are making any major changes at this point that would accommodate the concerns that we have," Pollack said.
Tom Nickels, the AHA's executive vice president for government relations and public policy, said the Senate has already shown more of a willingness to listen to stakeholders. Several Senate Republicans in Medicaid expansion states are pushing back against the law after hearing from their governors about the budget and coverage consequences of expansion sunsetting in their states, Nickels said.
"I think we and everyone else have focused a lot of attention on the Senate," Nickels said.
The House Rules Committee will be reviewing AHCA next week and a full House vote is reportedly expected next Thursday.