Cuts Threaten Hospitals' Ability to Cure and Care

Cuts Threaten Hospitals' Ability to Cure and Care

Cuts Threaten Hospitals' Ability
to Cure and Care

Cuts to Medicare and Medicaid funding for hospitals could be devastating to hospitals and the patients and communities they care for, especially at a time when hospitals are already absorbing cuts as a result of state belt tightening and recent legislative and regulatory changes.

Before the end of 2011, the House and Senate passed a two-month extension of the Social Security (SS) payroll tax holiday and emergency unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, along with a two-month extension of the current Medicare physician payment rates, thereby preventing a 27.4 percent cut to Medicare physician payments that was scheduled to take effect Jan. 1. The bill also included extensions of the so-called health care "extenders" set to expire last year for an additional two months.

As part of the year-end legislative agreement, the House and Senate appointed conferees to negotiate passage of final legislation before Feb 29. Consequently, as Congress returns, it is again under pressure to identify offsets to finance the SS tax holiday, emergency UI benefits, and physician payment fix for the remainder of the year; and cuts in payments for hospital services are again on the table.

After analyzing the various proposals put forward during the debate, the AHA has identified several areas where hospital payments under Medicare and Medicaid have been discussed by policymakers. The links below will take you to papers spelling out the AHA's position on the following issues:

In addition, we commissioned a study examining the process hospitals must undertake to receive reimbursement for Medicare patients' unpaid deductibles and coinsurance (bad debts). Click here to read the report.

We've also created factsheets examining:

In addition, because there may not be another opportunity before the election, we've created factsheets on several key Medicare policies that we hope to see passed in 2012: