Senators have left Washington for their home states for a month-long recess. When Congress returns after Labor Day, they will return to a full plate of must-do issues, including funding the government, extending the moratorium on Medicaid disproportionate share hospital cuts, extending certain expiring Medicare payment provisions for hospital services, reauthorization of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, raising the debt ceiling, and tax reform. And there may still be efforts to revisit the repeal and replace of the Affordable Care Act.
Topping policymakers “to do” list is the stabilization of the Health Insurance Marketplaces and continued funding for the cost-sharing reductions, or CSRs. These payments help millions of low- and middle-income Americans afford coverage, and they are crucial to their health and well-being. They must continue. The AHA is part of a coalition to advocate for continued CSR funding along with groups like the American Medical Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others.
No matter what happens in Washington, hospitals and health systems remain focused on the hard work of transforming our health care delivery system as we redefine the “H.” This work is happening across America at the local, community level. You are tackling the right issues, such as moving to value-based care, improving quality and patient safety, finding new efficiencies to take costs out of the system, working to make care more convenient, and improving the patient care experience. Ultimately, the solutions to our field’s greatest challenges won’t be found in Congress, but among America’s health care leaders. I have great confidence in our members to lead the way.