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Hospitals Pan Senate ACA Repeal Plan

By John Commins  
   June 22, 2017

The hospital sector offers unanimous thumbs down to the Senate’s proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. 

The nation’s largest hospital associations united in rejecting the Senate’s proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and urged lawmakers to “hit reset” and “go back to the drawing board.”

Senate Airs Obamacare Repeal 'Draft'

The response to the Senate plan released Thursday was virtually identical to the unanimous disdain shown this spring for the House Republicans' American Health Care Act.

That is not surprising because the two bills are fundamentally the same on key points. They both eliminate the individual mandate, slash Medicaid, and eliminate a 3.8% tax on investment income above $200,000 that is a key funding source for Obamacare.

Moody’s Investors Service said Thursday the Senate bill would hurt hospitals.  

“Under the proposed Senate bill, both for-profit and not-for-profit hospitals would face weaker demand for services and higher rates of uncompensated care expense, with the most significant impact on the sector occurring after 2020 when the changes to federal Medicaid funding are phased in,” said Daniel Steingart, a vice president at Moody’s.

“Transitioning federal Medicaid payments to a per-capita, or block grant system, and freezing Medicaid expansion would reduce the number of people with insurance and increase hospitals’ exposure to bad debt and uncompensated care costs.”

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has yet score the bill, but by some estimates as many as 11 million people who gained coverage under the Medicaid expansion would be booted from the rolls under the Senate plan.

Hospitals Say ‘Hit Reset’

Rick Pollack, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association, said the Senate Better Care Reconciliation Act “moves in the opposite direction” from “key principles” the AHA had set down to protect health insurance coverage, particularly for vulnerable patients.

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders.

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