AHA blasts Medicare, Medicaid cuts to fix deficit

In a letter submitted last week to the U.S. Senate's Finance Committee, the American Hospital Association (AHA) strongly stated its opposition to cuts in the Medicare or Medicaid programs to address the budget deficit, reports AHA News Now.

The current U.S. deficit currently totals about $14 trillion. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are currently meeting to craft an agreement on raising the borrowing ceiling for the U.S. government prior to technically defaulting on its obligations in early August.

"The deficit reduction plans offered thus far fail to consider an important reality: America's hospitals already are absorbing $155 billion in payment reductions," the statement asserted. The AHA claimed that additional cuts "could negatively impact patient care: services eliminated; longer waits for care; emergency departments shut down; and [reduce] staffing."

Many organizations that represent hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare providers have been adamantly opposed to enforcing the sustainable growth rate formula for Medicare, which have resulted in double-digit cuts in payments to physicians. As an alternative, lawmakers have authorized a series of bills intended to keep the cuts in check until an alternative to SGR can be created.

For more:
- read the AHA News Now story
- here's the AHA Senate Finance Committee statement (.pdf)