AHA supports permanently replacing the Medicare sustainable growth rate for physician payment, but cannot support any proposal to fix the physician payment problem at the expense of funding for services provided by other caregivers, AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock told the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee today at a hearing on the issue. “Offsets should not come from other health care providers, including hospitals, who are themselves working to provide high-quality, innovative and efficient care to beneficiaries in their communities and are being paid less than the cost of providing services to Medicare beneficiaries,” the AHA testimony states. “For example, in fiscal year 2015, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission projects that the average hospital will have an overall Medicare margin of negative 9.0%.” Umbdenstock highlighted AHA-recommended policy changes that would “both positively impact Medicare’s finances and pay for a permanent SGR fix,” as detailed in his written testimony. “Real improvements in health and health care – as opposed to arbitrary cuts to provider payment – have the ability to put our country on a more sustainable fiscal path and have received bipartisan support,” the testimony notes.