Essential hospitals care for vulnerable people and anchor a wide variety of communities, from the nation’s largest cities to expansive rural regions. They are sources of lifesaving care, jobs, and vital public health services that influence the social, economic, and environmental circumstances of a person’s life.
Essential hospitals care for communities that face many social barriers to achieving good health. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development data show that, in communities served by essential hospitals, more than:
- 350,000 people struggle with homelessness;
- 10 million suffer from limited access to healthy food;
- 25 million live below the federal poverty level; and
- 19 million lack health insurance.
Congress established Medicaid DSH to partly offset the high uncompensated costs essential hospitals sustain caring for large numbers of Medicaid and low-income patients and providing public health and social services to the people and communities they serve. Unless Congress acts, Medicaid DSH funding will suffer a $4 billion cut October 1 to help pay for a coverage expansion that has yet to occur.
We urge Congress to act now and stop this devastating cut to Medicaid DSH funding.