Statement on President Obama's Budget Proposal
PRESIDENT AND CEO
AMERICAN HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION
February 2, 2015
The cuts to hospital care are bad medicine for our nation’s seniors and other vulnerable patients. Hospitals are implementing enormous changes while they continue to improve the quality of care, but the Administration today proposes further cuts to hospital care. These reductions are short-sighted at a time when our nation’s health care infrastructure needs to be strengthened.
Many items in today’s proposal would seriously challenge hospitals’ ability to keep the promise of maintaining access to quality health care services. Hospitals have worked hard to hold down costs, as evidenced by the fact that health care inflation is at its lowest rate in 50 years. But that has not happened without sacrifice. Today, one in three hospitals operates in the red, and many hospitals are at a breaking point in their ability to ensure patients have access to the care they need, when they need it. With cuts to hospital services approaching $122 billion since 2010, this continued pattern of reductions is no longer sustainable. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission notes that hospitals are expected to have a Medicare margin of negative 9 percent in fiscal year 2015, which would be the lowest in history.
The budget blueprint does not spare teaching hospitals, post-acute providers or critical access hospitals – all of which play key roles in ensuring that people in the communities they serve have access to health care. It also seeks to reimburse hospitals at the same amount as physician offices and other ambulatory facilities, failing to recognize the very different clinical capabilities, access to all and 24/7 emergency services hospitals provide.
On a more positive note, we are pleased with the Administration’s willingness to explore structural reforms to the Medicare program that will allow a stronger financial footing for years to come. We also applaud the Administration’s proposal to replace the remaining Medicare sequestration cuts. We will continue to work with Congress and the Administration toward long-term solutions that protect the promise of care and improve the health of our communities.
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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