The Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) program provides essential financial assistance to hospitals that care for our nation’s most vulnerable populations – children, the poor, the disabled and the elderly. These hospitals also provide critical community services, such as trauma and burn care, high-risk neonatal care and disaster preparedness resources. Congress cut Medicaid DSH payments in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), reasoning that hospitals would care for fewer uninsured patients as health coverage expanded. However, the projected increase in coverage has not been fully realized due to some states not expanding Medicaid, as well as lower-than-anticipated enrollment in coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplaces.
The Medicaid DSH payment reductions, which the AHA has helped delay, are scheduled to take effect in fiscal year (FY) 2020.
Congress should again delay the start of the Medicaid DSH cuts given the vital need for the program.