Monday’s bill to keep the government open funded CHIP for 6 years but did not address a number of other issues on WSHA’s agenda, such as the expiring Medicare provisions: low-volume payment adjustment, Medicare dependent hospital status, and rural ambulance and home health add-ons. It also did not address a delay in the Medicaid disproportionate share hospital cuts due to take effect this year.
By February 8, lawmakers hope to have agreed on budget caps for the next two years — the upper limits for defense and non-defense spending — and maybe even spending levels for the rest of FY 2018. (Sen. Murray is a key player in these negotiations.)
Throughout this process, hospitals are at risk of Medicare and Medicaid cuts. One place is the budget deal to increase the current spending caps by as much as $100 billion. Lawmakers could look to hospitals for some of the money to offset this increase. They could also look for hospital cuts to pay for extending the expiring Medicare provisions.
The next few weeks will be critical. Simply stated, our message to the congressional delegation: No more Medicare payment cuts. Stay tuned for more information on how you can help deliver that message. (John Flink, WSHA Federal Lobbyist)