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Study highlights importance of DSH funds to hospital care for uninsured

May 7, 2014

Hospitals provided an estimated $44.6 billion in uncompensated care in 2013, which was offset by nearly $17 billion in Medicare and Medicaid Disproportionate-Share Hospital payments, according to a study published this week in Health Affairs. The Affordable Care Act is scheduled to reduce Medicaid DSH funding by 50% and Medicare DSH funding by 28% by 2019, although 25 states still have not opted to expand Medicaid coverage under the law, the study notes. “Given the importance of the Medicare and Medicaid payments in helping to defray providers’ uncompensated care costs, it will be critical to monitor how the ACA-mandated cutbacks in DSH funding will affect hospitals – which, according to our cost estimates, provided about 60% of uncompensated care in 2013,” the authors conclude.