Congressional efforts regarding “repeal and replace” of the Affordable Care Act are well underway, and there are many things for policymakers to consider as they work to reform America’s health care system.
The Indiana Hospital Association has been actively communicating and advocating for Indiana hospitals during this uncertain time, and our chief concerns include maintaining coverage, opposing further payment cuts and allowing delivery system reform to continue.
We should strive to increase, not decrease, the number of Hoosiers who have meaningful health care coverage. Indiana’s uninsured rate is at a historic low today, down more than 3 percent from 2014 to 2015. Through the innovative Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) 2.0 program, 350,000 previously uninsured Hoosiers are now eligible for comprehensive, affordable coverage. Also, approximately 200,000 Hoosiers have gained insurance through the federal insurance exchange. We must, at a minimum, maintain current coverage levels in our state, or hundreds of thousands of citizens could lose access to preventative care and become at risk for a personal medical and financial crisis.
Further payment cuts are not sustainable and would have dire consequences. Hospitals’ Medicare reimbursement has already been substantially cut under the ACA. Through 2015, these cuts (along with other subsequent legislative and regulatory reductions) have totaled almost $1.5 billion in Indiana alone. More cuts would lead to key service lines, such as obstetrics, being scaled back or dropped, forcing Hoosiers to travel longer for treatment. Further reductions could also threaten the very existence of safety net hospitals in rural and underserved areas, jeopardizing access to care for the elderly and most vulnerable.
To the extent possible, delivery reform should not be disrupted. The ACA contained provisions for testing new approaches to health care delivery and reimbursement, creating alternatives to the current fee-for-service system in the transition to a value-based model. Hospitals are committed to this journey, taking part in accountable care organizations, quality payment programs and innovation models. We are asking lawmakers to preserve pathways for these important population health initiatives to continue. In the coming weeks IHA will share comprehensive resources to help your hospital’s advocacy efforts. Though health care laws and acronyms may change, Indiana hospitals will continue to innovate, collaborate and focus on delivering the highest quality care for our patients and communities.
For more information, visit IHAconnect.org/Advocacy.