MASSDEVICE ON CALL — Aiming to shave some $810 million from the federal budget, vice-presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) wants to transform Medicaid by changing its open-ended funding structure into 1 based on block grants.
That has hospitals running scared of the estimated 31% cut in reimbursements to healthcare providers Ryan’s proposal would entail. His budget, which has twice cleared the U.S. House of Representatives, would peel off between 14 million and 27 million patients from Medicaid by 2021.
When Ryan’s budget dropped last year, hospital groups were quick to slam the Medicaid proposal and its then-lower $771 million in Medicaid cuts.
"Medicaid has already been dramatically cut as states struggle to balance their budgets. Further cuts of $771 billion over the next 10 years would threaten this program, which is a lifeline to so many Americans," American Hospital Assn. president & CEO Rich Umbdenstock said at the time, according to The Hill.
The GOP budget "raises serious concerns because it would result in the loss of health coverage for millions of low-income Americans, reduce critical benefits for others, and make it more difficult for hospitals, clinicians, and other healthcare providers to deliver the care so many need," added Federation of American Hospitals president & CEO Chip Kahn. "The combined effect of dropping the new coverage and maintaining the cuts threatens the care that communities depend on and will place harsh limits on the very healthcare providers who are frequently the most significant job creators in their local communities."
The Catholic Health Assn. said the cuts would be "draconian," shifting the cost burden to patients, healthcare providers and the states.
"While this may temporarily reduce the federal deficit, the long-term effects of this strategy will be to erode the safety net and jeopardize the health and economic security of millions of Americans," CHA president & CEO Carol Keehan said.
Dr. Bruce Siegel of the National Assn. of Public Hospitals & health Systems said the proposal wouldn’t help curb out-of-control healthcare costs.
"The Medicaid block grants included in the resolution do nothing to reduce health care costs – they merely shift the costs onto others and eliminate the federal guarantee of coverage," Siegel said.
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