Some hospitals might be forced to reduce services or shut down due to steep Medicaid cuts if Senate Republicans’ proposal to replace much of Obamacare becomes law.
“For the hospitals that protect millions of Americans and their communities, our essential hospitals, this bill might even accelerate decisions by some to reduce services or close their doors,” Bruce Siegel, president and chief executive officer at America’s Essential Hospitals, said June 22 in a statement. “We oppose this plan and appeal to senators to consider the needs of all Americans.” AEH is an industry group that represents about 300 safety-net hospitals.
The Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, unveiled June 22 by Republican senators, would phase out the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion over three years starting in 2021 and would make deep cuts to Medicaid starting in 2020, possibly forcing states to reduce eligibility and benefits in order to offset losses. The draft bill follows the House’s approval in May of its version of Obamacare repeal and replacement.
Michael Abrams, co-founder and managing partner at Numerof & Associates, a health-care consulting firm based in St. Louis, told me the Medicaid cuts come from the need to free up revenue for other things, like defense and tax cuts, but that they do nothing to reduce health-care costs.
“What strikes me is what’s not here,” he told Bloomberg BNA June 22. “It doesn’t address why health-care is as expensive as it is. This does not solve the real problem.”
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