Noteworthy News

Archive for deficit reduction

 

Will Fiscal Cliff Deal Make Medicare, Medicaid More Vulnerable?

The relative lack of spending cuts included in the fiscal cliff/Medicare doc fix deal passed by Congress last week could increase the pressure to reduce costs in key safety-net programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Or so some policy analysts believe. Many members of Congress supported the fiscal cliff bill only reluctantly because of it lacked the bigger spending cuts they sought, the thinking goes.  Now, with another fiscal cliff deadline looming on March 1, when the previously passed sequestration law takes effect, many who compromised last week will be demanding bigger cuts in exchange for their vote. As [&hellip

Could Safety-Net Hospitals Fall Off Fiscal Cliff?

Hospitals are increasingly worried that policy-makers in Washington will seek to pay their way out of the fiscal cliff crisis with painful Medicare and Medicaid cuts. Medicare, in particular, seems to be in the sights of fiscal cliff negotiators, and among the cuts being mentioned are reducing outpatient fees, cutting payments to teaching hospitals and rural hospitals, raising the age for Medicare eligibility to 67, and requiring higher-income seniors to pay higher Medicare premiums. Hospital officials, noting that they already face significant Medicare cuts as part of implementation of the Affordable Care Act, suggest that such cuts could jeopardize access [&hellip

NAUH Asks Congress for Help

The National Association of Urban Hospitals has again asked members of Congress to oppose any attempt to address this year’s Medicare SGR patch or the fiscal cliff challenge with still more Medicare or Medicaid cuts, noting the degree to which urban safety-net hospitals have already undergone such cuts and are awaiting others that will soon take effect. Read NAUH’s message to Congress here

Medicare Doc Fix: Robbing Peter to Pay Paul?

Finding $25 billion to implement a Medicare “doc fix” may necessitate cutting other payments vital to health care providers – and to the nation’s private, non-profit urban safety-net hospitals According to observers in Washington, D.C., among the areas where Congress may look for savings to pay for another Medicare doc fix are Medicare outpatient evaluation and management (E&M) fees; Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payments (Medicaid DSH); and the enhanced payments to Medicaid primary care providers that are supposed to take effect on January 1, 2013. Medicaid DSH and the enhanced primary care payments are considered especially important by urban safety-net [&hellip

Reform Medicaid Provider Tax, Editorial Urges

In a recent editorial, the Washington Post called for the federal government to reform the provider taxes that most states use to help finance their Medicaid programs. Provider taxes essentially enable states to increase the effective rate at which the federal government matches their Medicaid spending.  Past efforts to limit provider taxes have failed, but the Post calls for reform to be phased in over a number of years. In the past year, the National Association of Urban Hospitals (NAUH) has conveyed to Congress on numerous occasions its support of Medicaid provider taxes.  Such taxes are thought to be on [&hellip

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