Repealing and not replacing the Affordable Care Act would be harmful for patients and the hospitals that serve them. That’s why the AHA recently sent letters to President-elect Trump and Congressional leaders highlighting the results of a new study that details the impact repealing the ACA would have on hospitals, health systems, and the communities they serve. This study, cosponsored by the Federation of American Hospitals and completed by the firm Dobson|DaVanzo, reveals some very important findings. If ACA is repealed without a bill providing simultaneous coverage to accompany it, the net impact to hospitals from 2018 to 2026 would be a loss of $165.8 billion, and that’s assuming Congress restores Medicaid disproportionate share hospital cuts made in the ACA, as it did in similar legislation from a year ago which President Obama vetoed. Hospitals sustained other reductions—as did other stakeholders—under the ACA as well, which were redeployed to help fund coverage for millions of Americans. The study found that, if the ACA is repealed and the Medicare inflation update reductions are not restored, funding for Medicare hospital services would be reduced by a very significant $289.5 billion between 2018 and 2026. On top of that, for Congress to fully restore both Medicare and Medicaid DSH payments would amount to $102.9 billion. For many hospitals and health systems, cuts this deep are simply not sustainable. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projects that, even without repeal of coverage, between 40 to 50 percent of hospitals could have negative aggregate margins by the year 2025. Be certain, our top priority is to protect individuals who are at risk of losing their coverage. At the same time, we strongly believe that if policymakers choose to repeal it without taking action to preserve coverage, it is absolutely essential that they also repeal the sizable payment reductions for hospital services that were part of the ACA. Legislation proposed by Health and Human Services Secretary-nominee Tom Price, for instance, repealed ACA but also restored all funding reductions to hospitals. That’s what’s fair for hospitals, patients, and the communities we serve. You can read the full report here. In an alert next week, we’ll let our members know how they can help by contacting their members of Congress.

 

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