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AHA: Obama Budget Proposes 'Troubling Reductions'

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, April 11, 2013

Siegel says the DSH reductions "remain a looming threat to hospitals that care for our most vulnerable patients. Congress and the administration must repeal or reduce these damaging cuts and work toward a policy that achieves savings and recognizes the actual level of uncompensated care nationally. Further, savings from long-term baseline adjustments to DSH should be reinvested in the nation's safety net."

NAPH also urged lawmakers and the White House to carefully weigh Medicare cost savings proposals against their potential to financially burden beneficiaries and their providers. "In particular, we oppose the cuts to Medicare coverage of bad debt and to medical education payments—both would weaken the ability of hospitals to provide comprehensive services to communities and to train the next generation of physicians, nurses and allied health professionals," Siegel said.

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) applauded the proposed budget's modest funding increase for the National Institutes of Health, but its president expressed concern about cuts to Medicare.

"The proposed drastic reductions in Medicare indirect medical education (IME) payments will make it increasingly difficult for teaching hospitals and their physicians to provide care for the sickest in their communities, especially seniors and the underserved," said AAMC president and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD, in a statement released by the group. "These cuts also may force teaching hospitals to curtail vital services such as 24/7 trauma and burn units that are not available anywhere else in the community, and will worsen an already critical shortage of doctors in the United States."

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