Hospitals push back on proposal to extend cuts

Hospital groups are pushing back on a proposal from House Republicans to extend the Medicare sequestration cuts as part of a bill to raise the debt ceiling.

The idea from Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerLott says lobbying firm cut ties to prevent him from taking clients Lobbying firm cuts ties to Trent Lott amid national anti-racism protests Bush, Romney won't support Trump reelection: NYT MORE (R-Ohio) would "undermine care for seniors" and add to onerous reductions already facing Medicare providers, a coalition of hospital groups wrote in a letter to lawmakers Monday.

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"Medicare is meant to assure seniors' access to needed medical care, not serve as a piggybank for other programs," the letter stated. "We urge you to reject this proposal, which will jeopardize health services for seniors."

The coalition was spearheaded by the American Hospital Association. Part of hospitals' argument is that their reimbursements have been cut by $113 billion since 2010, in addition to $320 billion under ObamaCare.

Notably, lawmakers reached a budget deal in December that included a short-term "doc fix" paid for in part by hospital cuts.

Under BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerLott says lobbying firm cut ties to prevent him from taking clients Lobbying firm cuts ties to Trent Lott amid national anti-racism protests Bush, Romney won't support Trump reelection: NYT MORE's latest plan, a Medicare sequester extension would pay the $6 billion cost of reversing an unpopular cut to military pensions. The exchange would be attached to debt ceiling legislation that House GOP leaders hope to pass on Wednesday.

The leadership team whipped its members Monday night to gauge support for the plan. Boehner argued that the House should pass its own debt-limit plan to avoid a Senate version with higher government spending, but conservatives expressed skepticism. 

The deadline for raising the borrowing limit is Feb. 27.