AHA Statement on Co-Chairs' Proposal from the Nat'l Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform
President and CEO
American Hospital Association
Americans will have to make some tough choices to bring our fiscal house in order. That's why we commend the commission co-chairs for taking up this challenging task.
Today's draft proposal, however, contains certain recommendations that could jeopardize hospital services for vulnerable patients and communities, particularly given that hospitals already face $155 billion in cuts as part of health reform. The draft suggests accelerating cuts to the DSH program that provides funding to hospitals that serve a large population of poor and uninsured patients. This vital program was already cut in the health reform legislation, and further reductions are not acceptable. The proposal also calls for all hospitals to be subject to the independent payment advisory board - a commission established by the reform bill to set Medicare payment rates. This flies in the face of congressional intent and removes lawmakers from decisions that will affect health care in their community. The proposal also calls for reductions in federal spending on graduate and indirect medical education at a time when physicians are in short supply. In addition, the draft recommends cutting the Medicare bad debt program that provides additional funding to hospitals that treat seniors who are unable to pay their bills.
We also have concerns that the recommendation to cap national health expenditures does not take into account the real health care needs of Americans. At the same time, we do commend them for boldly proposing significant liability reform.
We know that these recommendations will undergo further discussion, and offer our input to inform the dialogue as it proceeds.
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.
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