AHA urges Congress to protect charitable tax deduction   02/14/2013
Testifying today for the AHA, a representative from Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., urged the House Committee on Ways and Means to exclude charitable giving from any limitations on federal tax deductions. "Let me give you a brief sketch of the financial environment in which hospitals now operate," Pam King Sams, the hospital's executive vice president for development, told the committee at a hearing on tax reform and charitable contributions. "A recent Moody's report maintains a negative outlook for nonprofit health care for 2013. It cites Federal cuts to health care spending, limited reimbursement increases from commercial insurers and a tepid economy as causes. Since 2010, Medicare hospital payments have been reduced by $250 billion over 10 years. As a result, hospital Medicare margins stand at an average negative 7%. In 2011, Medicaid overall paid hospitals $6 billion less than the cost of treating Medicaid patients….Think of the incentive of the charitable contribution tax deduction as a key that helps provide continued access to hospital services in communities across the country."
Senate committee passes preparedness bill   02/14/2013
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee yesterday approved the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act (H.R. 307), which reconciles separate preparedness bills passed by the House and Senate. The legislation passed the full House last month and next moves to the Senate floor. AHA-supported provisions retained in the bill would reauthorize the Hospital Preparedness Program, Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals, Medical Reserve Corps and other critical preparedness activities through fiscal year 2017; clarify allowable activities for recipients of HPP funds; and permit national collaboration among HPP-funded entities.
MACPAC recommends Congress continue Medicaid/CHIP provisions   02/14/2013
The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission yesterday recommended that Congress enact legislation to allow 12-month continuous eligibility for children and adults enrolled in state Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance programs after 2013, which would give enrollees time to transition to new health coverage if they become ineligible due to income changes during the year. Under the Patient Protection and Accountable Care Act, states must request a waiver to use 12-month continuous eligibility after 2013. The commission also recommended that Congress permanently fund the Transitional Medical Assistance program, which allows parents to keep their family's Medicaid coverage for at least six months after transitioning to a new job. The recommendations will be included in the commission's March report to Congress.
AHA responds to Emanuel commentary in New York Times   02/14/2013
In a letter to the editor today in the New York Times, AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock takes issue with a recent opinion piece by former White House advisor Ezekiel Emanuel, M.D. "We disagree with Dr. Emanuel's assertion that hospitals don't believe that something must be done to control rising health care costs," Umbdenstock writes. "Hospitals fully support care improvement and cost reduction, but we will oppose indiscriminate cuts to payment rates because they do nothing to reform the system. Hospitals are partnering with the government and private insurers to eliminate harm, avoid preventable readmissions and improve the coordination of care. And all this reduces costs in the right way. At its core, health care is about people caring for people - whether it is performing surgery or holding someone's hand in hospice. We cannot lose sight of this simple truth."