Representatives voice concern about proposed hospital payment cuts

AHA News Now

At a hearing yesterday on the president’s proposed fiscal year 2014 budget for the Department of Health and Human Services, several members of the House Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee expressed concerns about proposed cuts to hospital payments. “I’ve heard concern from hospitals in my district about the financial impact of the Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) program cuts and reductions on providers in states making a good faith effort to implement the Affordable Care Act,” Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) told HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. While the goal of the ACA provision was to reduce uncompensated care to hospitals as more Americans are covered by health insurance or the Medicaid expansion, Sebelius said HHS is “conscious of the notion that it won’t be a direct match. We’re looking very carefully and doing a lot of outreach about what is the most effective way to implement the cuts that are proposed in the law.” Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) told Sebelius, “I think there needs to be a recognition that other funding streams such as [Graduate Medical Education], DSH and bad debt payments are essential for hospitals investing in delivery system reform. Hospitals need these various funding streams to treat those who will remain uninsured even after the ACA and to train our next generation of physicians.” In other comments, Sebelius said the agency was committed to issuing this year a final rule governing the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.

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