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What's Next in the Health Care Debate?

By Rick Pollack
September 29, 2017

Once again, the Senate attempted to pass a proposal to repeal and replace significant parts of the Affordable Care Act. Once again, it met defeat – and we are grateful.

But this fight is not over. America’s hospitals and health systems must stay vigilant and continue to make the case to protect coverage for patients.

The Graham-Cassidy proposal met the same fate as previous repeal attempts because its enactment would have had similar consequences: devastating cuts to Medicaid, loss of coverage for tens of millions, eliminated consumer protections, and destabilized insurance markets. Instead of fixing our health care system’s very real problems, it would have only exacerbated them.

We believe the events of this week shouldn’t be a victory for one side or a loss for the other, but rather a catalyst to spark meaningful solutions. Instead of pursuing a partisan path, it’s our hope that leaders from across the aisle will start to work together for the benefit of patients.

Congress can start with five key issues that must be addressed before the year is out:

  • Secure funding for the cost-sharing reductions to help stabilize the Health Insurance Marketplaces;
  • Extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program that nearly 9 million children depend on;
  • Stop the Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital cuts that will impact financial assistance to help hospitals care for the poor, elderly, and disabled;
  • Extend critical rural programs and policies that help ensure care in rural hospitals; and
  • Urge the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to withdraw its proposal of drastic cuts to payments for drugs acquired under the 340B drug pricing program. 340B helps hospitals serving vulnerable communities reduce the price of pharmaceuticals for patients, expand services, and increase the number of patients served.

Thank you for making your voices heard in recent months on behalf of your patients and communities. Please keep the momentum going – help us let Congress know America deserves sensible reforms.

Topic: Advocacy and Public Policy
Tags: Drug Pricing Program, Medicare, Coverage, advocacy, Medicaid, access

Richard J. (Rick) Pollack is the President and CEO of the American Hospital Association.



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