Obama's Health Care Proposal Worries Hospitals

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Oct. 3, 2011 12:00 am  

She said the hospital was already having a tough time and cuts "would be devastating to us."

It reported a loss of $848,000 on patient revenue of $19.9 million for its fiscal year that ended June 30, 2010.

Cunningham said that if there were more cuts, money from other state programs would have to be diverted to make up for the shortfall in Medicaid at the state level.

One of the top priorities for the Arkansas Hospital Association now is working with the state's six members of Congress.

"We're ... trying to educate them on what the impact is going to be as far as hospitals are concerned," Cunningham said.

U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., said in a recent email to Arkansas Business that he supports reforming Medicare.

"ObamaCare and bankruptcy ends Medicare as we know it," he said. "Simple cuts without bold reform won't save Medicare: it will only hurt seniors. We need to comprehensively reform Medicare to save it, and I have voted for the reform required."

That reform was part of an attempt earlier this year by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to restore the Medicare cuts in his budget proposal, which passed in the House but failed in the Senate.

Obama's plan to cut the federal budget deficit by $3 trillion during the next decade includes $248 billion in cuts to Medicare and $72 billion to Medicaid.

The Joint Select Committee has to release its plan by Nov. 23 to Congress on ways to save at least $1.2 trillion during the next decade.

If the committee can't come up with a plan, or it is rejected by Congress, then an automatic 2 percent across-the-board cut in reimbursements will go into effect starting in 2013.
A Cascade of Fear
The American Hospital Association's Umbdenstock said in the news release that the funding cuts would reduce access to care for seniors and could overload emergency rooms, shut down trauma units and slow patient access to the latest treatments.

"Hospitals already face significant reductions in Medicare and Medicaid, which both pay hospitals on average less than the cost of providing care," he said. "Further reductions would exacerbate this problem."



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