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PPACA Whips Up Uncertainty for Hospitals

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, July 18, 2012

Undoubtedly the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is providing for interesting times now for healthcare delivery in the United States. At this point, calling it a blessing or a curse would be guesswork.

Supporters of the PPACA cannot deny that implementation of the sweeping reforms will be a daunting task that may, ultimately, fail. Many critics of "Obamacare," however, have provided no realistic alternatives to bending an unsustainable healthcare cost curve beyond vaguely worded demands for vouchers, block grants, and buying health insurance across state lines.

One reason why the American Hospital Association and other hospital groups supported the PPACA was because of its pledge to expand health insurance to tens of millions of people now uncovered, including dependent children age 26 or younger. But as Moody's Healthcare Quarterly pointed out this month, that new revenue source for not-for-profit hospitals will be offset by Medicare reductions of $150 billion over the next 10 years, along with an additional $14 billion in Medicaid disproportionate share payments.

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