Healthcare Cuts Affecting Most Vulnerable Americans

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Trend Likely to Continue As Government Focuses on Drecreasing Healthcare Spending

When the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the end of Designated State Health Programs funding at the end of 2017, it was the latest change to affect the patient populations hospitals would be able to serve.

For example, America’s Essential Hospitals, a trade group representing over 200 hospitals nationwide, is dependent upon Medicare and Medicaid for more than half their patient revenue as a result of their service to underprivileged and underserved populations. But the November decision to cut $1.6 billion from the 340B program likely means a cut of over 20 percent in reimbursement to hospitals, resulting in a loss of prescription access for patients without insurance.

Ongoing debate over the possible repeal or replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) figures to plague hopsital amdinistrators throughout 2018, whether due to indecision or ultimately due to the ACA’s replacement with a less comprehensive option.

To date, millions of patients—including children—have lost medical coverage or seen their premiums increase as a result of the uncertainty looming over the future of the ACA. Meanwhile, the federal government’s continued measures to reduce healthcare spending could have further negative impacts on disadvantaged patient populations.

For example, if ultimately passed, the Senate’s elimination of the individual health insurance mandate is estimated to save the federal goverment almost $350 billion over the next 10 years—but would also result in an estimated 13 million Americans losing or cancelling their health inusrance.

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