Letter supports hospitals serving vulnerable populations

Three hundred and two members of the U.W. House of Representatives, including Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, are urging congressional leaders to delay cuts to the Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital program.

The program provides vital support to Alaska hospitals that serve a disproportionate number of Medicaid beneficiaries and uninsured patients.

According to the Medicaid and the CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) Payment and Access Commission, if the cuts are implemented Alaska hospitals could lose $3.6 million the first year and double that number in the following year.

In their May 13 letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., the 302 signers said that if Congress fails to delay cuts scheduled to begin on Oct. 1 that safety net hospitals will face a financial shortfall of $4 billion in fiscal year 2020, and that these cuts would grow to $8 billion in fiscal year 2021.

“Our nation’s hospitals cannot sustain losses of this magnitude,” the letter said. “Institutions will be forced to shutter, leaving our constituents and communities without a vital safeguard.

“Until a more sustainable, permanent solution is reached, we ask that you work to delay these cuts for at least two fiscal years,” they wrote.