Hospitals blast Medicare cuts in GOP payroll tax bill

ADVERTISEMENT
The hospital provisions include a $10.6 billion cut to federal reimbursements for bad debts; a $6.8 billion cut to payments for hospital outpatient department evaluation and management services; a $4.1 billion cut to payments for hospitals that see a disproportionate share of people without insurance; and an extension of caps on therapy services to outpatient hospital settings, which saves the government another $1.7 billion. Hospitals only account for about 60 percent of federal reimbursements for bad debt.

The AHA says cuts to bad debt payments would disproportionately hurt hospitals that care for the poorest people because they're often uninsured or can't meet their required cost-sharing requirements under Medicare.

The AHA also opposes relaxing the healthcare reform law's restrictions against physician-owned hospitals, which many Democrats view as having a built-in conflict of interest that drives up costs.

Hospitals are also upset about what's not in the bill, including payment boosts for small rural hospitals, so-called "Section 508 hospitals" with high labor costs and psychiatric services delivered by physicians, clinical psychologists and clinical social workers.