FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Statement attributable to:
Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH
President and CEO
America’s Essential Hospitals
WASHINGTON – We welcome a constructive discussion about how to improve Medicaid without jeopardizing access to health care services for vulnerable people. But proposals to convert Medicaid to block grants so far fail to cross even this basic threshold.
Block grants have been a policy idea for more than 20 years and past proposals always translated to dramatic cuts to federal spending on Medicaid. Recent examples sought to reduce spending by an estimated $1 trillion over 10 years.
States cannot sustain cuts this large without reducing the number of people eligible for Medicaid, narrowing coverage for those who remain, and lowering provider payments that already fall short of costs. Access to care would suffer and state and local economies would buckle under these new financial pressures.
Cuts of this magnitude would fall especially hard on low-income and other vulnerable patients, millions of whom likely would lose coverage. Essential hospitals, which already operate with no margin on average, would have little choice but to scale back services dramatically or close, worsening access to care in already underserved communities.
Entitlement reform must make access and coverage priorities. Studies have shown that access to Medicaid coverage can save lives, increase access to health care services, and improve general well-being. Reforms must guarantee eligible individuals access to coverage and all needed services, improve quality, reduce health disparities, and preserve the safety net’s ability to care for the remaining uninsured and underinsured and provide vital community services.
We look forward to discussions with all stakeholders about how to accomplish these and other goals.
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About America’s Essential Hospitals
America’s Essential Hospitals is the leading association and champion for hospitals and health systems dedicated to high-quality care for all, including the most vulnerable. Since 1981, America’s Essential Hospitals has initiated, advanced, and preserved programs and policies that help these hospitals ensure access to care. We support members with advocacy, policy development, research, and education.
Our nearly 300 members are vital to their communities, providing primary care through trauma care, disaster response, health professional training, research, public health programs, and other services. They innovate and adapt to lead the broader health care community toward more effective and efficient care.