The tax bill being considered in the House and Senate could lead to $25 billion in cuts to Medicare, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Those are the consequences under the so-called “pay-as-you-go” law Congress passed in 2010. That law requires tax cuts and certain spending increases to be paired with offsetting provisions. If not, the law forces automatic spending cuts, also known as sequestration. Congress can prevent the cuts, but it can’t be done under the same fast-track procedures it is using for the tax bill.

The prospect of such deep cuts is alarming for Medicare beneficiaries and providers alike.  Cuts to Medicare funding for hospital care could overload emergency rooms, impact trauma units and reduce patient access to the latest treatments.

It is critical that legislators understand the impact of these cuts.  And it is up to hospital and health system leaders across the country to deliver the message that cuts have consequences for Medicare patients’ access to health care.

The personal advocacy of the people on the front lines of health care has always been our real key to success. Remind Congress and the White House that health care policy is made in local communities. Washington’s tax policy should also be good health care policy for your communities and the people you serve. Urge Congress to prevent these Medicare reductions from taking effect.