Hospital lobby plans campaign against cuts to Medicare, Medicaid

The hospital lobby is appealing to its members to help raise funds for a nationwide campaign against Medicare and Medicaid cuts in the debt-ceiling talks.

The strategy is outlined in an executive briefing of the American Hospital Association's hospital government relations officers network, obtained by The Hill. It seeks to prevent hospital payment reductions in any "down payment" while minimizing and delaying future payment reductions called for by caps or other automatic cut mechanisms.

The AHA is also proposing alternative deficit reducers, such as increasing the Medicare eligibility age and beneficiary cost-sharing. As for Medicaid, the AHA supports increased use of generics, restructuring co-payments and incentivizing people to get long-term care insurance so they're not dependent on Medicaid when they become disabled.

The hospitals are also pressing for revenue raisers, including a tax cap on employer-provided health benefits and taxes on junk food.

The AHA's fundraising appeal for coalition advertising is aimed at hospital systems, freestanding hospitals and associations.