Harder Leads Bipartisan Majority of CA Delegation to Oppose Cuts to Medicaid Hospital Funding
WASHINGTON – Representatives Josh Harder (CA-10) and Paul Cook (CA-8) are leading a bipartisan coalition of California congressmembers in a letter asking House leadership to address looming cuts to a federal program which provides funding to hospitals which serve uninsured and underinsured patients. Medicaid’s Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payment program is designed to offset the costs hospitals bear in treating people without access to comprehensive insurance. Next year, DSH payments are scheduled to be cut by $4 billion, including $500 million for California hospitals.
“We’ve seen this administration undermine health care reform for years – and as a result not enough people have access to the insurance they need to stay healthy. A lot of them end up in the hospital as a result, but can’t afford to pay for it,” said Rep. Harder. “Hospitals – especially those serving rural areas or in places with high poverty rates, can’t keep providing these services without help. Congress needs to undo the damage to our health care system that this administration is doing and make sure we don’t lose this funding.”
“Congressman Harder has been a strong advocate in Congress for California’s hospitals, including Doctors Medical Center. The Congressman understands the challenges facing hospitals in our community and remains a strong champion to ensure hospitals are able to provide high quality health care to those that need it,” said Warren Kirk, CEO of Doctors Medical Center, Modesto. “Doctors Medical Center would like to thank Congressman Harder for supporting legislation that would prevent devastating cuts to hospitals that would undermine our ability to care for our most vulnerable citizens. Without the Congressman’s support of this key legislation, hospitals would face devastating cuts that could put health care access and services in jeopardy.
“For the more than 160 safety-net hospitals in California, federal Medicaid DSH funding is a critical lifeline for the patients and communities they serve,” said Carmela Coyle, President & CEO of the California Hospital Association. “From resources to care for uninsured and underinsured patients to community-based preventative health screenings, these funds are vital to millions of Californians who rely on hospitals for health care. On behalf of all of California’s hospitals, the California Hospital Association commends Congressman Harder and Congressman Cook for their support to protect vulnerable communities as an example of precisely the type of leadership and responsiveness people should look for in their elected representatives.”
A provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandated reductions in DSH payments because the rate of uninsured Americans was expected to drop as the health care law was enacted. However, because of partisan opposition, including this administration’s repeated attempts to weaken the ACA, uninsured rates have not dropped as anticipated, and rose last year for the first time in a decade.
The program is designed to help hospitals – especially those in rural and underserved areas – afford the cost of providing life-saving health care to those who cannot afford it. Local hospitals in Rep. Harder’s district could see millions of dollars in losses if the cuts are put into effect.
A total of 47 of California’s 53 House members signed on to the bipartisan letter, including Representatives Doug Lamalfa (CA-01), Jared Huffman (CA-02), John Garamendi (CA-03), Mike Thompson (CA-05), Doris Matsui (CA-06), Ami Bera (CA-07), Jerry McNerney (CA-09) Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Eric Swalwell (CA-15), Jim Costa (CA-16), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), TJ Cox (CA-21), Salud Carbajal (CA-24), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Judy Chu (CA-27), Adam Schiff (CA-28), Tony Cardenas (CA-29), Brad Sherman (CA-30), Pete Aguilar (CA-31), Grace Napolitano (CA-32), Ted Lieu (CA-33), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Norma Torres (CA-35), Raul Ruiz (CA-36), Karen Bass (CA-37), Linda Sanchez (CA-38), Gilbert Cisneros (CA-39), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Mark Takano (CA-41), Ken Calvert (CA-42), Maxine Waters (CA-43), Nanette Barragan (CA-44), Katie Porter (CA-45), Luis Correa (CA-46), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Harley Rouda (CA-48), Mike Levin (CA-49), Duncan Hunter (CA-50), Juan Vargas (CA-51), Scott Peters (CA-52), and Susan Davis (CA-53).
The original letter is available here.