Premier joined seven other hospital organizations on January 13 in calling on the Senate to reject a proposal to cut Medicare providers to pay for extended unemployment benefits.
The Senate has been in negotiations to extend expiring jobless benefits through November 2014, but the policy comes at a cost. One “pay-for” under consideration is extending the mandatory cuts under sequestration an additional year until 2024, which would include the 2% Medicare provider cuts. Just last month, Congress passed and the president signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (H.J. Res. 59) into law which extended the 2% cuts to 2023, which is two years longer than in previous law.
In a letter to Senate lawmakers, the groups underscored that hospitals have already incurred $113 billion in cuts over the last three years and any additional cuts would jeopardize healthcare for seniors.
“Medicare is meant to assure seniors’ access to needed medical care, not serve as a piggybank for other programs,” wrote the organizations. “It is bad policy to further extend Medicare sequester cuts that could undermine care for seniors.”
Even if Congress rejects this proposal as an offset for the unemployment bill, it could resurface as a financing mechanism during future budget debates. In the meantime, please make sure your lawmakers know that further extending the sequestration cuts is poor policy for hospitals and Medicare beneficiaries.