"It reinforces all the points we have been making about why people should be very cautious about looking at these kinds of options," Pollack says.
"It exposes a gap between what people on the policy side are looking at versus what the public is willing to accept. This just reinforces all of the messages that we’ve been sending during the lame duck [session] and presumably for the remainder of the year as they continue to grapple with these issues."
On other fronts, a broad coalition of 20 associations representing Medicare recipients, hospitals, nursing homes, and other providers sent a joint letter to President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders urging them to protect provider assessments from the budget axe.
The letter warned that cutting or eliminating Medicaid provider assessments would do little to reduce healthcare costs but would threaten access to quality care for seniors, children, individuals with disabilities and low-income families.
"Cutting provider assessments hurts patients," National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems President/CEO Bruce Siegel, MD, said in a media release accompanying the letter. "Congress and the administration must recognize that limiting this crucial funding stream will shift costs onto states—costs that will trickle down to providers and, ultimately, to millions of beneficiaries who rely on Medicaid."