America's Essential Hospitals urges committees to 'withdraw' AHCA: 4 things to know

America's Essential Hospitals, which represents hospitals and health systems caring for disproportionately poor patients, said Republicans' ACA replacement plan could harm safety-net hospitals, according to a March 8 letter to two House committees.

In its letter, AEH said it is "disappointed" in the short timeframe from when the bill was released Monday to when the Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees began considering the bill Wednesday.

Here are four takeaways from AEH's letter.

1. While AEH said it will continue to collaborate with committee members on the bill, the association asks legislators to "refrain from further action until you have received a score and coverage estimates from the Congressional Budget Office."

2. Last month AEH outlined key provisions it would like to see in an ACA replacement bill, which it included in the letter. They are:

  • Ensuring individuals who can gain healthcare coverage maintain access to that coverage

  • Recognizing "the counter-cyclical nature of Medicaid" and refraining from transferring higher healthcare costs to providers, states and local governments 

  • Maintaining safety-net hospitals' "ability to provide essential community service" to uninsured and underinsured patients 

3. In regards to the AHCA, the association said the bill does not meet the organization's first two principles of healthcare reform. Specifically, AEH said it is concerned the legislation will cause more individuals to lose Medicaid coverage. However, the association said the AHCA aims to meet its third principle, but falls short because it does not eliminate all Medicaid disproportionate share hospital cuts. 

4. Additionally, AEH said proposed tax credits for individual health plans, which range from $2,000 to $4,000 depending on a person's age, are "substantially below the actual costs of purchasing a comprehensive healthcare plan." The association said millions of Americans may no longer be able to purchase coverage and, as a result, its safety-net hospitals will see more uncompensated care.  

More articles on leadership:
Layoffs on the table at Methodist Hospital in Kentucky
NorthShore University HealthSystem - Advocate HealthCare merger scrapped: 3 less discussed thoughts
House panels to debate ACA replacement, Dems and conservatives hurl criticism 

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