Hospitals: Protect our payments in deficit deal

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Like hospitals, doctors and nursing homes have urged lawmakers to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff" of automatic spending cuts and tax increases set to hit in January, and preserve their payments in any final deal.

"Hospitals need your help and we ask for your support during the coming days and week as Congress considers policies addressing the fiscal cliff," wrote FAH President Chip Kahn. "The choices Congress makes ... either will help stabilize, or further weaken, hospitals."

The letter cited a recent study that projects as many as 766,000 job losses as a result of Medicare sequestration.

President Obama is scheduled to meet with lawmakers Friday to open negotiations.