Hospitals fret over GOP's plans for Medicaid

Medicaid on paper and a stethoscope
Prominent Republicans have said they want to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace Medicaid funding with block grants. (Getty/designer491)

With major changes to Medicaid looking increasingly likely once Donald Trump takes office, some healthcare providers are worried about what that will mean for their bottom lines and the patients they serve.

In Connecticut, a state that has accepted federal funds to expand Medicaid eligibility, the Connecticut Hospital Association is warning that “hospitals' fiscal stability and sustainability, as well as patient access to care, will be compromised” if the ACA is repealed and cuts in Medicaid payments to hospitals remain in place, according to the Hartford Courant.

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That is especially true for Hartford Healthcare, which owns five acute care hospitals and to mental hospitals, Chief Medical Officer Rocco Orlando told the publication. Scaling back Medicaid expansion would result in tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue, staff reductions and fewer services he said, adding that he and his colleagues are “very actively engaged” in talking to Congress about preserving that part of the ACA.

In fact, some Republican governors who have expanded Medicaid in their states might also join the fight against rolling it back.

Yet they face an uphill battle, as prominent Republicans including the president-elect and House Speaker Paul Ryan have said they want to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace Medicaid funding with block grants. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., Trump’s recently announced pick to head the Office of Management and Budget, also is expected to push for Medicare and Medicaid spending cuts and sees the ACA as a “government takeover” of healthcare, according to Politico.

Meanwhile, a group of Republican committee chairmen recently sent a letter detailing their concerns about how federal money is being spent on Medicaid expansion, The Hill reports. They say “inconsistencies” with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ approach to expansion populations and expenditures can “shift billions of dollars to states and taxpayers.”

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