A bill that was scheduled to be considered in the House of Representatives this week proposes to support access to hospital care on one hand while cutting a vital funding source for hospitals on the other.
By eliminating scheduled cuts to the Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) program, a critical resource for some of California’s most vulnerable hospitals, while at the same time cutting Medicare payments for hospitals, the Lower Costs, More Transparency Act (H.R. 5378) would protect care for some while creating uncertainty and unease for patients throughout California.
Late last week, CHA issued an alert asking hospital leaders to contact their federal representatives to ask them to consider these issues separately.
While the bill did not actually come to the floor this week, the issues it would address remain of high concern for hospitals. Medicaid DSH cuts go into effect Oct. 1. These payments provide more than $1.3 billion in federal funding to safety net hospitals in California. For Medicare, the cuts would manifest by expanding the program’s site-neutral payment policy to hospital outpatient departments, tipping fragile hospitals over the financial cliff.
More than half of California hospitals lose money every day to care for patients, and projections suggest that input costs for that care — labor, supplies, pharmaceuticals, and more — will continue to rise. There’s simply no way that hospitals can continue to provide the care people need if they are faced with cuts at the same time expenses are skyrocketing.
Even though the bill was not taken up this week, this is a critical moment to elevate your voice — the hospital voice — in service of your community and patients. Please take a moment to reach out to your members of Congress to share your strong support to delay Medicaid DSH cuts as outlined in H.R. 5378 and to oppose the proposed Medicare cuts.