Hospitals Lost Billions In Funding When ACA Passed — Now They’re Fighting To Get It Back

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The health law cut two types of hospital funding: charity care money and annual raises in Medicare reimbursement. But as Republicans take aim at dismantling the legislation, hospitals say they’re going to need those cuts repealed too. Meanwhile, insurers don’t want to go back to pre-health law days when they were seen as the bad guys.

The Wall Street Journal: Hospitals Fear Changes To Health Law, Press GOP On Revenue Concerns
Hospital executives are descending on Washington with a message: They are concerned about losing insured patients and revenue under any plan to dismantle or significantly alter the Affordable Care Act. In a flurry of recent meetings, the executives have told lawmakers they don’t want Americans to lose insurance under any alternative the Republicans devise for the Affordable Care Act. If that happens, however, hospitals say they want Congress to restore billions of dollars in federal funding they lost when the ACA took force. (Evans, 2/5)

Des Moines Register: Obamacare Has Eased Hospitals’ Burdens Of Caring For Uninsured
Iowa hospitals have seen a $127 million drop in annual charity-care costs since the Affordable Care Act took full effect in 2014, financial reports show. That was a decline of almost 38 percent. Over the same period, 2013 through 2015, Iowa hospitals saw a $168 million annual drop in “bad debt,” or medical bills that were sent but weren’t paid. Hospital leaders say the improved finances helped them stabilize and improve their organizations. They worry that if the law is completely rescinded, they would be worse off than they were before it passed. (Leys, 2/5)

NPR: Health Insurers Say They Don’t Want To Go Back To Being The Bad Guys
President Donald Trump and other Republican leaders have been working to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. And the millions of Americans who have health insurance through the Obamacare marketplaces aren’t the only ones wondering about their fate. Leaders of insurance companies are, too. (2/3)

In other health law-related news —

San Jose Mercury News: Repeal And Replace? All Americans Could Lose Obamacare Protections
Lost in the bipartisan battle in Congress, many health experts say, are all the little-known aspects of former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law: They say it’s not just the 22 million Americans who now buy individual health policies on insurance exchanges — or who qualify for an expanded Medicaid program — who benefited from the 2010 law. From coast to coast, tens of millions of other Americans — including many who often rail against “Obamacare’’ — are also covered by the law’s consumer protections. (Seipel, 2/4)

Denver Post: Colorado Health Exchange A Political Football In Debate About Obamacare Repeal
The leaders at Colorado’s health insurance exchange are working to keep alive the online marketplace, even if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, while Republican state lawmakers want to shut it down now. The contradictory approaches put Connect for Health Colorado, the state-based exchange where 175,000 residents purchased insurance in 2016, at the center of a debate that is only amplified by the efforts in Washington to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. (Frank, 2/3)

The Philadelphia Inquirer: ACA-Established N.J. Health Insurer To Be Liquidated
A Superior Court of New Jersey judge on Friday approved the liquidation of Health Republic Insurance of New Jersey, one of 23 nonprofit consumer-operated and -oriented health plans established under the Affordable Care Act. Last fall, the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance put the insurer in rehabilitation, taking it out of the market for this year, but holding out the possibility that it could return to selling health insurance plans next year if Health Republic found investors. The insurer was expected to have a deficit of $18 million last month. (Brubaker, 2/3)

And KHN explains how budget reconciliation works —

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