Congress has reconvened for its post-election session and is expected to consider several key health care issues. At the top of our agenda is a delay in the Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) cuts scheduled to take effect December 12. Second is relief from the 2 percent Medicare payment sequester.
According to an AHA analysis, Medicaid DSH cuts would reduce federal allotments in the state by nearly 37 percent. We are urging Congress to delay these cuts until least the start of FY 2022.
The story on Medicare sequestration is similar. Earlier this year, Congress, provided relief from the 2 percent Medicare payment sequester through the end of the year. But the COVID crisis won’t end with the conclusion of 2020 so we are urging Congress to extend relief into 2021.
Whether Congress and the administration can agree on additional COVID relief is uncertain. Previous COVID relief measures – especially the CARES Act enacted in May – provided critically important resources that enabled hospitals to prepare for and respond to the pandemic. As we head into the winter surge, the need for relief returns.
We have urged Congress to approve an additional $50 billion for the Provider Relief Fund. We also have urged Congress to approve relief for front-line health care workers and to provide liability protections to health care facilities and providers during the emergency.
Stay tuned as these issues move through the remaining days of this Congress. (John Flink, WSHA Federal Lobbyist)