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Cuts to Medicare Payments for Uninsured Begin

Chelsea Rice, for HealthLeaders Media, October 1, 2013

Federally mandated cuts to Medicare and Medicaid hospital payments for uncompensated care go into effect on schedule, but hospital associations and lawmakers are actively proposing their delay.

The federal government may have shut down overnight, but provisions and funding cuts mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to be effective October 1 are rolling out as planned.

Much attention has been directed at the opening of the health insurance marketplaces, but Oct. 1 is also the day that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services begins cutting Medicaid and Medicare disproportionate share hospital payments.

The loss of these monies, which compensate hospitals for the cost of treating the poor and uninsured, is expected to take a significant financial toll on many hospitals. But a bill introduced September 27 by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) would delay the PPACA cuts to both the Medicare and Medicaid DSH payments.

Supported by the American Hospital Association, the bill is a companion to the DSH Reduction Relief Act (H.R. 1920) proposed by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) in May 2013, which suggested DSH payment cuts be delayed for three years.

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