In just one week, the sequester – the sharp, automatic spending cuts that include a 2% annual cut in Medicare funding – begins to kick in. We’re obviously concerned about the impact of those cuts on hospitals – and also are concerned that the sequester could be suspended only for certain programs (such as defense), with lost savings potentially replaced by further reductions to Medicare and Medicaid payments to providers.
The sequester will be the next in a series of fiscal flashpoints ahead that will repeatedly place essential funding for hospital services on the line (see our story on page 1).
We know many of you reached out to your lawmakers while they were back in their districts during this past week’s Presidents Day recess. Our thanks for meeting with them and letting them know about the pressures your organization faces with payment reductions and the pace of implementing new regulations. It was a great way to follow up on our Feb. 13 Advocacy Day briefing here in Washington, and it’s a message that needs repeating in the weeks and months ahead. Your next opportunity to weigh in with legislators takes place Tuesday at our next Advocacy Day event here in Washington. The briefing will provide an up-to-the minute report on what’s happening on Capitol Hill just days before the sequester is set to take effect.
Please attend the briefing and then take your case directly to your representatives and senators and their staff on Capitol Hill. If you can’t attend in person, please make sure to tune in for our simultaneous webcast. To register, click on: http://tinyurl.com/b7ahhzb.
Help your legislators understand that restructuring entitlement programs and achieving efficiencies by reforming the delivery system are preferable to arbitrary cuts to providers that don’t improve patient care or sustain these programs for future generations. And view our video message about rejecting arbitrary cuts that hurt patient care. For more information and to share the video via Twitter, Facebook and other social media, go to www.aha.org/protectcare.
Lawmakers are drowning in facts; only you can bring understanding about the impact cuts would have on health care delivery. Hospitals are doing their part to get the nation’s fiscal house in order. But communities and their most vulnerable citizens should not have to shoulder the burden.