Fiscal Cliff Looming, Healthcare Providers Move to Protect Funding

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , December 6, 2012

Hospital groups and other providers this week intensified their campaigns to protect Medicare and Medicaid from drastic funding cuts that could be considered in the weeks ahead under the so-called fiscal cliff negotiations.

The American Hospital Association on Wednesday unveiled the results of its survey taken Nov. 13-15 which showed that 69% of the 800 registered voters queried—regardless of their party affiliation—oppose funding cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.

Specifically, survey respondents were asked if they would support or oppose a proposal to reduce Medicare and Medicaid funding for hospitals by more than $70 billion over 10 years, as has been proposed in the deficit reduction talks.

Of the 31% of the respondents who pointed to spending and budget issues as one of the two most important issues facing the country, 71% oppose reducing federal spending for healthcare, the survey showed.

"Nearly seven out of 10 voters reject cutting hospital funding for Medicare and Medicaid services and voters believe that if funding were reduced then access to services would decrease," AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack said in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday.

"We know that as part of the fiscal cliff discussions, Congress could further cut hospital funding to reduce the deficit. It is our view that these cuts would have serious implications for patients and could jeopardize access to quality care."

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