How Hospitals Staved Off Threatened Fiscal Cliff Cuts
Hospitals were spared three of the major Medicare cuts they feared most in the fiscal cliff solution – bad debt reimbursement, graduate medical education payments, and outpatient evaluation and management (E&M) fees – through vigorous lobbying of Congress.
As the fiscal cliff deadline drew nearer, according to the publication Politico, hospital associations, ad hoc coalitions of providers, and individual hospitals communicated directly with their members of Congress and deployed their lobbyists to make their case to Congress. Consequently, while hospitals did suffer some Medicare cuts in the fiscal cliff solution, they were spared the cuts they feared the most.
And they still face the possibility of cuts later this year as part of the second half of the fiscal cliff crisis – the new March 1 deadline for the two percent sequestration cuts in Medicare payments – and if Congress and the administration take up entitlement reform, as is widely expected.
The success of the hospital industry’s lobbying on these vital issues speaks to the value of having a strong presence in Washington, D.C. and asserting that presence at the right time. The National Association of Urban Hospitals (NAUH) provides that strong presence on behalf of urban safety-net hospitals and was very much involved in lobbying Congress during the fiscal cliff crisis – lobbying that proved successful in preventing the Medicare and Medicaid cuts that urban safety-net hospitals feared most.
The fiscal cliff crisis is not over, however, and Medicare and Medicaid will continue to be vulnerable to cuts in the coming year. If you are concerned about the possibility of such cuts, we invite you to consider joining NAUH and helping make our voice even louder and stronger.