The House passed a budget bill that included provisions to restore Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) funding in fiscal year (FY) 2014 and delay FY 2015 DSH cuts for one year. This major legislative victory for America’s Essential Hospitals came Dec. 12 in a 332 to 94 vote. America’s Essential Hospitals has been working to roll back the DSH cuts that were put into law through the Affordable Care Act. The new provisions were included in a two-year budget bill that partially repealed sequestration and stopped Medicare physician payment cuts for the next three months. The Senate invoked cloture on the bill by a 67-33 vote, which limited debate to 30 hours before the bill goes to a final vote, which likely will happen tomorrow. The bill is expected to pass by a simple majority.
Also on the Hill last week, the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees marked up similar legislation to repeal the Medicare physician payment system, which is partially based on the sustainable growth rate (SGR). Both bills passed out of the committee, and both chambers expect to take action early next year. Of interest, the Senate Finance Committee included a Medicaid DSH amendment in its bill. The amendment, sponsored by Sens. Bill Nelson (D-FL), Jay Rockefeller (D-WI), and Bob Casey (D-PA), directs the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to issue annual reports on the need for future Medicaid DSH payments.
America’s Essential Hospitals worked closely with congressional staff to include the Medicaid DSH delay in the budget agreement and the Medicaid DSH report as an amendment to the Senate Finance Committee SGR bill. The association continues to monitor this issue closely and will send a detailed Special Update to members after the Senate takes a final vote on the budget bill. Please contact Shawn Gremminger, assistant vice president for legislative affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.585.0112 with questions.