Statement on President Obama's Fiscal Responsibility Proposal
President and CEO
American Hospital Association
We welcome President Obama's contribution to the national dialogue on how best to come to grips with our nation's soaring deficit. We appreciate the President's balanced approach to addressing the deficit while preserving health care coverage. America's hospitals have absorbed $155 billion in reductions this past year and that does not include other cuts imposed by regulatory actions. In response, hospitals have embraced change and are re-engineering the way they provide care for patients. It is time that every other sector of society be held to the same level of shared sacrifice, commitment and scrutiny.
While we appreciate the President's sensitivity in maintaining the safety-net mission of Medicaid, America's hospitals are concerned with his proposal to reduce provider taxes or assessments, which are used by most states to help finance their Medicaid programs. Curtailing this option will result in less funding and even more pressure to cut Medicaid, jeopardizing services to the poor and the disabled.
We also are troubled that formula-driven, arbitrary budget targets could result in across-the-board cuts to health care. We will continue to oppose the use of this trigger that could impede patients' access to care and further exacerbate the "cost-shift," which would increase health care costs to employers and other purchasers of private coverage.
The President expands the role of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). America's hospitals support the repeal of IPAB, because its existence permanently removes Congress from the decision-making process, and threatens the important dialogue between hospitals and their elected officials about the real health care needs of their communities. Expanding IPAB adds to that problem.
We look forward to getting more details on this proposal and facilitating further dialogue between America's hospitals and their lawmakers.
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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