AHA Lobbies Congress for 'Shared Sacrifice'

John Commins, October 11, 2011

The American Hospital Association is calling for “shared sacrifice” from the greater society – even if it means higher taxes or raising the Medicare eligibility age – if that would help the nation’s hospitals avoid further reimbursement cuts over the next decade.

“It’s the theme of shared sacrifice,” AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack told HealthLeaders Media. “If we are going to tackle these major problems, you can’t keep going back to the same well. It is everybody’s responsibility to step up to the plate in the name of shared sacrifice.”

“Cutting providers and rationing the provider payments doesn’t represent reform. It represents the same old, same old. Cutting providers eventually does harm beneficiaries,” he says. “If we have this big national problem, shouldn’t everyone be part of solving it?”

AHA last month compiled for Congress and the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) more than 40 recommendations amounting to $2 trillion in either cuts or new revenues that have been proposed by Republicans, Democrats, and special interest groups.

Pollack says AHA leaders attended a “fly-in” last week on Capitol Hill “to make the case that, from our perspective, not only have we already stepped up to the plate in the name of shared sacrifice, but our sector is absorbing more change than virtually any other sector in society.”

Pollack says most anything on the list would be preferable to imposing more cuts on hospitals, which he says have already agreed to take a $155 billion cut in Medicare reimbursements over 10 years under the Affordable Care Act, and have also seen huge cuts in state Medicaid programs.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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