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Uncompensated Care Report Encouraging, but Challenges Remain

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 24, 2014

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

Today’s White House report on the decline in hospital uncompensated care costs is promising news for essential hospitals, which have worked to enroll the uninsured in new coverage opportunities under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

We welcome reports that this work has made a difference and look forward to further reductions in the number of uninsured through ACA coverage expansion.

But essential hospitals still face high levels of uncompensated care and looming cuts to disproportionate share hospital (DSH) funding – a problem of particular concern in states that have denied patients the same opportunity for Medicaid coverage so many others enjoy today. Even in states that have expanded Medicaid, our members continue to face the burden of Medicaid payment rates that fall well short of the true cost of care.

Similarly, coverage expansion through the health insurance marketplace only goes so far toward easing the strain of uncompensated care: Even with ACA premium subsidies, the cost of insurance may remain out of reach for many people of limited financial means.

We’re encouraged the administration recognizes the need to accurately gauge uncompensated care costs when considering changes to DSH funding and other hospital support. Only through the best possible data can we know the true state of coverage and, in turn, ensure our policies protect access to health care for all people.

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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 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.

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