February 10, 2016 | FAH Policy Blog Team
The entire bipartisan South Florida Congressional delegation signed a letter this week urging the Administration to abandon a budget proposal that would hurt low-income seniors by cutting a critical Medicare provision.
This is the third year in a row that the lawmakers have joined forces to speak out against drastic cuts to Medicare bad debt payments.
“Medicare bad debt payments are a critical backstop for seniors in Florida, many of whom continue to struggle in this economy. This reimbursement ensures that Medicare beneficiaries maintain access to essential health care services, even when they simply cannot afford to pay their cost sharing,” the members wrote to the Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell.
At its inception, Medicare was designed to cover 100% coverage of Medicare bad debt. Over time, the program has suffered repeated cuts, currently covering just 65% of uncompensated care for seniors; hospitals must take on the burden of 35% of that care without any reimbursement.
President Obama’s FY17 Budget proposes to slash the payments from 65% to just 25%.
“Providers in Florida that particularly serve dual eligible, low income populations, are already operating on very narrow margins. Meaning further cuts could result in the reduction of access to vital health care services. Florida’s hospitals, and the millions of seniors who rely on them for their critical health care needs, depend on the Medicare program to be a steward of good public policy.”
The Federation of American Hospitals salutes this bipartisan effort from the South Florida Congressional delegation. They join a group of more than 40 legislators, Senators and Representatives, from both sides of the aisle who are standing up to protect seniors’ access to critical care by expressing opposition to the Medicare bad debt reductions.