Hospitals Push to Stop Budget Cuts to Health Care Providers

The administration wants to cut $2 billion, but the industry’s lobbying group says the cuts will end up costing taxpayers in the long run.

An auxiliary nurse assists a patient in a geriatric unit at the hospital in Angers, western France, on October 23, 2013. The Angers hospital employs 6,000 people including 980 doctors.
National Journal
Clara Ritger
See more stories about...
Clara Ritger
March 4, 2014, 3:07 p.m.

A hos­pit­al lob­by­ing group hopes to con­vince Con­gress to avoid mak­ing roughly $2 bil­lion in cuts to health care pro­viders, ar­guing that the health care sys­tem is gen­er­at­ing sav­ings and that slash­ing pay­ments fur­ther would jeop­ard­ize fu­ture in­nov­a­tions in care.

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion pro­posed the cuts Tues­day in its 2015 budget re­quest, and it in­cludes re­duc­tions in post-acute care, pay­ments for rur­al hos­pit­als, and re­im­burse­ments for care provided to Medi­care be­ne­fi­ciar­ies who don’t pay their bills. The cuts come after years of spend­ing re­duc­tions to hos­pit­als, which faced some $25 bil­lion in re­duced rev­en­ues in the pres­id­ent’s pro­pos­al last year.

The Fed­er­a­tion of Amer­ic­an Hos­pit­als, which rep­res­ents more than 1,000 health care pro­viders, is push­ing a new study to per­suade law­makers to forgo the cuts. The study, pro­duced by health care con­sult­ing firm Dob­son DaV­anzo, es­tim­ates more than $900 bil­lion in sav­ings to the Medi­care pro­gram over the next dec­ade due to cost cut­ting already be­ing gen­er­ated through changes to the way hos­pit­als and doc­tors provide care. The pro­jec­tion ex­ceeds es­tim­ates by the Con­gres­sion­al Budget Of­fice, which last month lowered its ten-year pro­jec­tions for Medi­care and Medi­caid spend­ing by $221 bil­lion.

FAH Pres­id­ent and CEO Chip Kahn said in his an­nounce­ment at the or­gan­iz­a­tion’s  an­nu­al pub­lic policy con­fer­ence that the sav­ings are the dir­ect res­ult of struc­tur­al changes to Amer­ica’s health care sys­tem that will drive down cost growth. Some of the changes he noted are the use of elec­tron­ic health re­cords, re­duc­tion in hos­pit­al read­mis­sion rates, and ad­op­tion of new care and pay­ment mod­els, in­nov­a­tions which can be traced back to pub­lic policy, in­clud­ing the Amer­ic­an Re­cov­ery and Re­in­vest­ment Act and the Af­ford­able Care Act.

“Our mis­sion now should be to stay the course, with the struc­tur­al re­forms that are driv­ing down health care costs,” Kahn said.

Hos­pit­al lead­ers Tues­day sent a copy of the re­port, along with a call to avoid new hos­pit­al pay­ment cuts, to the House and Sen­ate Budget com­mit­tees’ lead­er­ship.

MOST READ
What We're Following See More »
FIRST WOMAN NOMINATED BY MAJOR PARTY
Hillary Clinton Accepts the Democratic Nomination for President
3 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"It is with humility, determination, and boundless confidence in America’s promise that I accept your nomination for president," said Hillary Clinton in becoming the first woman to accept a nomination for president from a major party. Clinton gave a wide-ranging address, both criticizing Donald Trump and speaking of what she has done in the past and hopes to do in the future. "He's taken the Republican party a long way, from morning in America to midnight in America," Clinton said of Trump. However, most of her speech focused instead on the work she has done and the work she hopes to do as president. "I will be a president of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. For the struggling, the striving, the successful," she said. "For those who vote for me and for those who don't. For all Americans together."

COUNTER-CHANTS AT THE READY
Protesters Make Good on Threat to Disrupt Speech
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

Supporters of Bernie Sanders promised to walk out, turn their backs, or disrupt Hillary Clinton's speech tonight, and they made good immediately, with an outburst almost as soon as Clinton began her speech. But her supporters, armed with a handy counter-chant cheat sheet distributed by the campaign, immediately began drowning them out with chants of "Hillary, Hillary!"

SUFFOLK POLL
New Survey Shows Clinton Up 9 in Pennsylvania
12 hours ago
THE LATEST

If a new poll is to be believed, Hillary Clinton has a big lead in the all-important swing state of Pennsylvania. A new Suffolk University survey shows her ahead of Donald Trump, 50%-41%. In a four-way race, she maintains her nine-point lead, 46%-37%. "Pennsylvania has voted Democratic in the past six presidential elections, going back to Bill Clinton’s first win in 1992. Yet it is a rust belt state that could be in play, as indicated by recent general-election polling showing a close race."

Source:
THREE NIGHTS RUNNING
Democrats Beat Republicans in Convention Ratings So Far
12 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Wednesday was the third night in a row that the Democratic convention enjoyed a ratings win over the Republican convention last week. Which might have prompted a fundraising email from Donald Trump exhorting supporters not to watch. "Unless you want to be lied to, belittled, and attacked for your beliefs, don't watch Hillary's DNC speech tonight," the email read. "Instead, help Donald Trump hold her accountable, call out her lies and fight back against her nasty attacks."

Source:
SHIFT FROM ROMNEY’S NUMBERS
Catholics, Highly Educated Moving Toward Dems
16 hours ago
THE LATEST

Catholics who attend mass at least weekly have increased their support of the Democratic nominee by 22 points, relative to 2012, when devout Catholics backed Mitt Romney. Meanwhile, a Morning Consult poll shows that those voters with advanced degrees prefer Hillary Clinton, 51%-34%. Which, we suppose, makes the ideal Clinton voter a Catholic with a PhD in divinity.

×