Federal Medicaid DSH Advocacy Continues

This week, the Massachusetts House Congressional delegation sent a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price urging that the Trump Administration not move forward on proposed cuts to Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) funding.   Hospitals and other advocates across the country, including MHA, recently weighed in on a proposed CMS rule that would implement required cuts to state Medicaid DSH funding called for in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The proposed CMS methodology to implement the $2 billion cuts nationally in FY2018 would result in a 31% reduction in Medicaid DSH funding to Massachusetts, the largest reduction in the country. The cuts grow eventually to $8 billion by 2024.

The Massachusetts House letter to Price stated, “Your Administration has advocated for greater state flexibility to allow the type of innovation which Massachusetts initiated in 2006 under the Bush Administration and continues to this day. ... However, the proposed DSH cuts would disrupt and possibly destabilize this reform effort while also penalizing our success in reducing the number of uninsured.”

Governor Charlie Baker also wrote a letter to Secretary Price, stating, “The impact of the DSH cuts will have a destabilizing effect on the public and safety net hospitals if the rule is implemented without revision.  Furthermore, the DSH reductions would have the effect of endangering Massachusetts’ longstanding almost universal healthcare coverage and new health reform efforts.” A third letter from the Bay State’s two U.S. Senators is reportedly in the works as of Monday Report’s press time.

The Medicaid DSH funding cuts to states are scheduled to take effect October 1, 2017. MHA has advocated that the proposed rule be delayed and raised concerns with the proposed methodology that heavily weights the funding cuts based on Massachusetts’ successful efforts to cover the uninsured.