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ACA Implementation Threatens Hospitals' United Front

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, January 25, 2012

For the most part, the nation's hospitals have presented a united front throughout the great healthcare reform debate. What’s good for one hospital is good for all, or so goes the mantra.

The public statements of the American Hospital Association and other hospital lobbies on divisive issues like the Affordable Care Act are models of measured banality. And that is a good thing.

They represent hospitals' interests on one of the most-bitter legislative battles in a generation, and have tried to remain bipartisan as best they can. That is harder than it seems when you consider that hospitals have constituents—and elected officials—in red and blue states, and in every sizeable town in the nation.

However, a couple of nettlesome issues that just won't go away could pit state hospital associations against one another, or force the hospital lobby to choose sides in a bitterly divided, locked-down Congress.

First, it appears that there is a growing rift between the AHA and House Republicans that apparently started with AHA’s support of the Affordable Care Act. AHA agreed to about $155 billion in funding cuts under ACA in exchange for expanded healthcare coverage.

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