Medicare Cuts Could Slash 278K Hospital Jobs, Warns AHA

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , January 20, 2012

In addition, AHA officials fear that hospitals may be caught in the political crossfire between the Obama administration and the Republican-controlled House. The AHA supported the Affordable Care Act and agreed to about $155 billion in funding cuts over the next decade in exchange for expanding healthcare coverage.

"The $155 billion was really tied to coverage expansion—that as coverage expands, there will be 31 million more people covered under Medicaid and the private exchanges and that provides an offset to some of the cuts in the $155 billion," Caroline Steinberg, AHA's vice president of trends analysis, told HealthLeaders Media.

Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee, however, have openly dismissed the AHA's claims as alarmist. Last month the GOP leadership on the committee issued a press release stating that the cuts proposed by H.R. 3060 represented 0.5% of the $2.6 trillion in projected Medicare spending over the next decade, "hardly a 'major reduction.'"

"Not so long ago, the major hospital trade associations endorsed and strongly supported legislation that became law.  It contained $155 billion in hospital Medicare cuts—more than 10 times the reductions in H.R. 3630," the GOP media release said.

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