AHA: Medicare numbers 'woefully' short of costs

Not for the first time, the American Hospital Association has gone on the warpath over low Medicare reimbursement numbers. This time they're relying on numbers from MedPAC, which just released data concluding that Medicare covered much less patient costs in 2008 than it did in 2007.

According to MedPAC, Medicare margins have fallen from a negative-6 percent to an estimated negative-7.2 percent a historic low. This follows seven years of Medicare falling beneath even break-even levels.

MedPAC expects things to improve slightly in FY 2010, but not much; it's predicting that Medicare margins will be negative-5.9 percent. Not surprisingly, the AHA is displeased with this state of affairs, arguing that under these terms, a Medicare "buy-in" could harm hospitals further.

In the meantime, MedPAC may be able to help a bit. It's considering a recommendation to Congress that would provide a full "market basket" update for FY 2011 for both outpatient and inpatient hospital reimbursement.

To learn more about the Medicare reimbursement debate:
- read this Healthcare Finance News piece
- check out this press release

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