Hospital group warns of serious harm from Medicaid cuts

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The American Hospital Association warned Senate Republicans Monday against including large cuts to Medicaid in its healthcare bill. 

“Medicaid serves our most vulnerable populations, including Americans with chronic conditions such as cancer, the elderly and disabled individuals in need of long-term services and support, and already pays providers significantly less than the cost of providing care,” the AHA wrote in a letter Monday. 

The House healthcare bill’s proposed $834 billion in Medicaid cuts would have “serious negative consequences for communities across America,” AHA said. 

While Senate Republicans are writing their own healthcare bill, they are considering making even deeper cuts to Medicaid than the House, The Hill reported Monday. 

The AHA suggested leaders allow states to use waivers to “improve care and program sustainability” rather than transitioning to a per capita cap or block grant form of funding. Those options would change Medicaid from an open-ended commitment to states to one that is capped at a certain amount.

The AHA also urged senators to keep ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion, which paid for states to expand eligibility for the program to more low-income adults. 

Eliminating the expansion could worsen the opioid epidemic, the AHA warned.

“We already have seen clear evidence of how expanded coverage is helping to address these high-priority needs,” the AHA wrote.

“The opioid epidemic plaguing our country is a compelling reason why Medicaid expansion should not be curtailed, and Medicaid funding should not be slashed.”

The AHA also warned against allowing states to waive out of ObamaCare regulations that ban insurers from charging sick people more for coverage and mandate what services they must cover. 

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