Congress Once Again Kicks DSH Cuts Down the Field

The $1.4 trillion spending deal that the House and Senate approved and that the president was expected to sign last Friday delays scheduled cuts to disproportionate share hospitals through May 22, 2020. The Medicaid DSH cuts have been delayed by various mechanisms since 2013. The cuts are tied to a provision in the Affordable Care Act, which reasoned that hospitals would care for fewer uninsured patients as health coverage expanded nationwide. However, the nationwide expansion has been stalled in a number of states, and in states like Massachusetts that did expand Medicaid coverage, hospitals are incurring significant financial losses given the inherent provider underpayment in the program. Delaying the cuts to May of next year is good news for Massachusetts, which stands to lose hundreds of millions of dollars if the cuts go through. MHA has been in regular contact with the Massachusetts congressional delegation in support of a long-term delay and permanent fix.