A provision of the Affordable Care Act would reduce payments to disproportionate share hospitals – facilities that serve a large percentage of the uninsured and underinsured. The thinking was that as the rates of uninsured drop due to the ACA’s coverage mandates, uncompensated care costs would also decrease.
In a letter to Congressional leadership last week, a group of hospital associations, including the American Hospital Association, noted that the ACA coverage goals have not been fully achieved – but the DSH cuts remain.
“Unfortunately, the coverage rates envisioned under the ACA have not been fully realized, and tens of millions of Americans remain uninsured. In addition, Medicaid underpayment continues to pose ongoing financial challenges for hospitals treating our nation’s most vulnerable citizens,” the letter states.
The hospitals asked Congress to delay the start of the Medicaid DSH cuts, which are scheduled to begin in fiscal year 2020, or October 1, 2019. The DSH payment reductions have been delayed a number of times to date – in a bipartisan manner. Last week’s letter asks once again for a delay.