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AHA-Led Coalition Launches Ads Against Hospital Funding Cuts

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, June 28, 2011

The American Hospital Association-led Coalition to Protect America's Health Care on Monday launched a national advertising campaign to "educate" Congress about the impact of further federal funding cuts to hospitals.

The 30-second ads feature quick shots of kids in crutches, kids and seniors in wheelchairs, an abandoned teddy bear, and white-smocked healthcare professionals giving patients reassuring pats on the shoulder. With The Ink Spots You Always Hurt the One You Love playing in the background, a voiceover raises concerns that the more than $100 billion federal funding cuts proposed by Congress will hurt patient care -- particularly for the nation' most vulnerable people – children, the elderly, and the disabled.

"Cutting Medicare and Medicaid payments to hospitals could overload emergency rooms, shut down trauma units, and reduce patient access to the latest treatments. Tell Congress to protect hospital care," the voiceover warns, as a toll-free number for the coalition flashes on the screen. 

AHA President/CEO Rich Umbdenstock says the proposed cuts were the wrong medicine at the wrong time. "In communities across this country, people turn to their hospitals for care and comfort in times of need. This is even more true as America ages and chronic illness is on the rise, that's why further cuts to hospital funding are misguided and would jeopardize the care hospitals provide to the communities they serve," Umbdenstock said in a media release.

The Coalition, created in 2000, includes the AHA, the Federation of American Hospitals, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the National Association of Children's Hospitals, the National Association of Public Hospital and Health Systems, and the Catholic Health Association.

"It is clear that our nation needs to reduce its debt and deficit spending but harming seniors and poor persons is neither a smart nor compassionate way to balance the budget," Sr. Carol Keehan, DC president/CEO of the CHA, said in the coalition media release. "Protecting Medicare and Medicaid is crucial for vulnerable people, as well as the hospitals and long-term care facilities that depend on fair federal payments to serve their communities. Catholic-sponsored health care providers stand ready to work with Congress and the Administration to determine the best way to reduce spending while also protecting all those who need Medicare and Medicaid."

The multi-week ad campaign will feature radio, television, and print spots.

See Also:
AHA Supports Rural Hospital Protection Act
How to Break Even on Medicare Reimbursements


John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.