FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Statement attributable to:
Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH
President and CEO
America’s Essential Hospitals
WASHINGTON – Today’s reports of a draft policy brief describing how House Republicans would replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) raise significant concerns about whether the plan could protect the health of low-income and other struggling Americans.
The brief circulating in policy circles leaves many unanswered questions and would employ proposals that could worsen access to needed health care services for vulnerable people.
We’re encouraged the plan takes steps to recognize the needs of essential hospitals by eliminating Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) cuts and providing transitional relief for safety-net providers in non-expansion states.
But we are deeply concerned it could reduce federal support for the Medicaid program. Past proposals for block grants and per-capita caps would have, over time, dramatically cut federal spending on the Medicaid program. Substantial cuts would be unsustainable for our hospitals and their patients.
Likewise, the plan’s options for the private market – health savings accounts and high-deductible health plans – could create problems of their own for the vulnerable, who often can’t afford cost-sharing requirements. The result might be more people forgoing needed care or receiving care they can’t afford, which would drive up uncompensated care costs for hospitals already operating with no margin.
Congress must step back from its accelerated timeline to repeal and replace the ACA and pause for the analysis and modeling that changes of this magnitude deserve. All stakeholders must have an opportunity to thoughtfully evaluate and respond to replacement plans. The well-being of millions of Americans and viability of our essential hospitals are at stake.
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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.