AHA Statement on Administration's 2008 Fiscal Budget
President, American Hospital Association
February 5, 2007
Today's budget is devastating news for children, seniors and the disabled who depend on the Medicare and Medicaid programs. They are being unfairly singled out to carry the burden of achieving a balanced budget. The proposed budget includes a tidal wave of cuts that will inflict real damage on hospitals' ability to care for these patients. America needs policies that shore up these programs, not damage them further. The AHA strongly opposes those provisions and urges Congress to reject them.
Today, Medicare and Medicaid payments to hospitals remain well below the cost of providing care to patients. While the Administration's budget proposes to limit hospital reimbursement, the costs of caring for patients continue to increase. Hospitals absorb many costs that they are simply unable to control such as prices for drugs, medical devices and supplies.
At the same time, hospitals need to make significant investments to prepare to respond to disasters both natural and manmade, update facilities and technologies to better care for an increasingly aging population and upgrade information technology for patient safety. This is at a time when hospitals face increasing labor costs due to a shortage of health care workers. Against this backdrop, hospitals serve as the community's safety net providing free and subsidized care to an increasing number of uninsured.
Our nation's health care "system" faces very serious challenges. Today's budget does nothing to address the underlying challenges. The real answer lies with comprehensive reforms that address coverage for all, coordination of care and wellness.
About the AHA
The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 43,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA website at www.aha.org.