President Barack Obama’s fiscal budget plan for 2013 was met with a resounding thud in the healthcare sector.
“Today’s budget is bad news for our nation’s seniors and most vulnerable citizens,” said AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock. “It once again targets funding for hospital care and could result in fewer nurses, less access to cutting-edge treatments and longer waits for emergency care. …Hospital leaders recognize the fiscal challenges our country faces. But harming our most vulnerable citizens will not solve our nation’s problems.”
In a statement, the Federation of American Hospitals says that it understands the “urgent need for America’s policymakers to meet the fiscal challenges facing this nation.”
“However, we are extremely concerned that the Administration’s FY’13 budget proposes arbitrary cuts to already inadequate Medicare and Medicaid hospital funding. These cuts are shortsighted and would be counterproductive. Not only will they weaken the hospital safety net and reduce access for seniors and other vulnerable citizens, they also threaten the vital role that America’s hospitals play as the largest private employers and source of good, new jobs in most communities across the country.”
According to an AHA release, President Obama proposed $320 billion in reductions to Medicare and Medicaid. The president’s plan, which is similar to a proposal the White House released in September, calls for cutting Medicare by $268 billion and Medicaid by $52 billion over 10 years. Among other Medicare reductions, the plan would reduce Medicare payments for bad debt, cut indirect graduate medical education by 10%, and reduce payment updates for post-acute providers.
“Clearly, there is work to do to retool the economy for major growth, put our fiscal house in order and ensure the sustainability of the programs so critical to so many seniors and low-income Americans,” The FAH said. “The FAH is ready to work closely with the Administration and Congress in these efforts. But community hospitals must oppose policies, such as the cuts contained in this budget proposal, that are arbitrary and will not serve well those who depend on our Medicare and Medicaid programs.”