fah hospital policy blog

Perspectives on health policy affecting America’s hospitals and the patients we serve.

Medicare Hearing: An Important First Step in Protecting Patient Care

May 18, 2017 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Medicare, Rural, Sequester

FAH appreciates the leadership of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, specifically Chairman Tiberi and Ranking Member Levin, for holding a hearing about the importance of the Medicare program – present and future. Now more than ever, hospitals need policymakers to stand up for our patients and ensure hospitals will be there for our communities.

Our mission is to care for anyone that walks through the door, day or night, but these uncertain times are forcing difficult decisions on scaling back staff and services – ultimately hurting the people and places we serve.

The long list of financial threats facing hospitals includes MedPAC’s estimate that overall Medicare margins will hit an all-time low once again this year – bottoming out at negative ten percent.

The commission has noted the challenges created by the Medicare sequester. In a recent report to Congress MedPAC argues against the Medicare sequester saying, “it reduces payments across all sectors by 2 percent without regard to payment adequacy.”

Lawmakers also need to address the so-called ‘rural extenders.’ This unique payment structure helps facilities in less populated areas keep their doors open. Without that support – millions of Americans could have their access to care reduced.

Current events only compound past actions. Estimates show that past Congressional and Executive Branch moves have led to cuts that total $148 billion from 2010 to 2026.

This confluence of financial factors led to Congressional Budget Office to say in a recent report that by 2025 between 40% and 50% of hospitals could have negative margins.

Enough is enough – if hospitals are pushed past the brink financially it hurts patients, employees and entire communities.

Today’s hearing was an important first step. FAH looks forward to working with lawmakers as we work to make Medicare provides patients the care they need and deserve.

You can watch the hearing by clicking here.