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  • Washington Highlights

    AAMC, Hospital Groups Urge Action on Pending Medicaid DSH Cuts

    Sinead Hunt, Legislative Analyst
    For Media Inquiries

    The AAMC joined the American Hospital Association, America’s Essential Hospitals, and other hospital and health system groups in a March 6 letter urging congressional leadership to address pending cuts to the Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) program. 

    The letter urged Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) to address $8 billion in scheduled cuts to the Medicaid DSH program, which are due to go into effect on Oct. 1. “This year the Medicaid program and its beneficiaries face a difficult transition, as states institute processes to determine which recipients remain eligible for the program when the maintenance of effort provisions related to the public health emergency expire,” the letter noted. This unwinding of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act’s (P.L. 116-127) continuous coverage requirement, which prevented states from disenrolling Medicaid beneficiaries during the public health emergency, could cause millions of individuals to lose access to health insurance coverage, placing a financial strain on the hospitals that care for them. “Now is not the time for additional cuts to Medicaid funding, as hospitals are facing continued hardships while the country emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic,” the letter concluded.  

    The Medicaid DSH program provides supplemental payments to hospitals that care for a high proportion of Medicaid beneficiaries and the uninsured. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) included reductions in federal Medicaid DSH funding under the assumption that expanded access to insurance coverage would result in less uncompensated care. Originally scheduled for fiscal years 2014 through 2020, these cuts have been legislatively delayed several times since the ACA’s enactment, including most recently in the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (P.L. 116-94) [refer to Washington Highlights, Dec. 19, 2019].