By now, hopefully you have seen the news announced earlier this week that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will withdraw its Medicaid fiscal accountability proposed rule from its regulatory agenda.
This was a big victory for patients and providers as the rule would have cut up to $50 billion a year from an already underfunded Medicaid program — significantly undermining, if not crippling, Medicaid financing in many states and jeopardizing access to care for the 75 million Americans who rely on the program as their primary source of health coverage.
In making the announcement, CMS Administrator Seema Verma said, “We’ve listened closely to concerns that have been raised by our state and provider partners about potential unintended consequences of the proposed rule, which require further study.”
From the moment that CMS released the proposed rule last year, our field has been unified in our opposition to this misguided policy.
The AHA made our objections known to CMS on many occasions, including in our official comment letter on the rule in which we formally made our case. We worked very closely with the state, regional and metropolitan hospital associations in seeking reinforcement. And so many of you weighed in with your governor, senators and representatives, as well asked key Republican legislators at the state level to make sure the White House, Department of Health and Human Services and CMS understood the detrimental effects the rule would have on your patients and communities.
For the last 10 months, we delivered a consistent message — loudly and often. And CMS listened.
While this flawed policy is off the table for now (we are waiting for CMS to formally withdraw the rule through a notice in the Federal Register) we know there are plenty of other challenges and pressing issues facing our field … and this issue could come back.
What’s also clear: When our field speaks with a strong, united and collective voice — policymakers and lawmakers hear us. And we can get results.
Special Note: Our thoughts continue to be with our colleagues out West as they contend with the wildfires and our colleagues down South as they manage the aftermath of Hurricanes Laura and Sally. We are proud of the dedication and courage of our front-line workers who continue to put the needs of their patients and communities first, even as many of them have lost their own homes and are experiencing personal loss. We’ll keep you updated on disaster relief funds and how you can support these health care heroes.