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Statement on House Action to Reduce, Delay Medicaid DSH Cuts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 12, 2013

Statement attributable to:
Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH
President and CEO
America’s Essential Hospitals

WASHINGTON—House lawmakers today took an important step toward protecting access to vital health care and community services for millions of people, including those in the greatest need.

By voting to restore Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) funding in 2014 and delaying 2015 DSH cuts for one year, the House has averted the immediate threat to this critical funding for vulnerable patients and their hospitals.

We appreciate House members’ vote for this legislation and hope senators do the same. But we also urge Congress to use the breathing room this decision affords to reassess DSH cuts in the long term.

The coverage outlook has changed profoundly since enactment of the Affordable Care Act, with half of the states not expanding their Medicaid program. The DSH cuts, as set in law, are significantly out of proportion to the lower numbers of insured patients we now expect.

The uninsured will continue to depend on our hospitals and we must support their care. Entire communities are at risk for reduced services, including lifesaving trauma care and disaster response, without the critical support DSH provides.

We must put patients first – and politics aside – and work toward sound policy, based on the best evidence, that lowers health care spending without jeopardizing care for society’s most vulnerable.

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About America’s Essential Hospitals
America’s Essential Hospitals, formerly the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, 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. It supports members with advocacy, policy development, research, and education.

Our more than 200 members are vital to their communities, providing primary care through trauma care, disaster response, health professionals 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. Visit EssentialHospitals.org to learn more.

Contact
Carl Graziano
202.585.0102
cgraziano@essentialhospitals.org

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About the Author

Graziano is senior director of communications for America's Essential Hospitals.