The AAMC joined other hospital and health system groups in a June 29 letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) opposing proposed financing mechanisms in the recently released Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework. Other signatories included the American Hospital Association, America’s Essential Hospitals, and the Federation of American Hospitals.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework included several financing sources to cover the costs of the proposal, such as extending “mandatory sequester” and repurposing “unused relief funds from 2020 emergency relief legislation.” The letter interprets these broad statements to be in reference to the 2% Medicare sequester, which is set to be reinstated on Jan. 1, 2022, and unspent Provider Relief Funds.
In the letter, the groups reminded Leaders Schumer and McConnell that Congress “recognized that hospitals and health systems needed relief from Medicare cuts during the pandemic” and expressed appreciation for the “recently provided delay through the end of this year in the two percent mandatory reductions.” The hospital groups also expressed that “Medicare funds should not be used to pay for roads and bridges.”
The letter also highlighted that some hospitals are still recovering from the pandemic, while others continue to experience increased caseloads. The framework proposed that “unused” COVID-19 relief funds be used as a financing mechanism, but the stakeholders noted that a significant financial need remains as “hospitals and health systems and other health care providers are awaiting the distribution of additional dollars in Provider Relief Funds as well as the recently allocated $8.5 billion for rural health care providers.”
“We would ask that none of these COVID-19 health care relief funds be used for the purpose of funding an infrastructure package, given the ongoing need for health care providers to offer assistance to their patients and communities,” the letter concluded.