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'The Business of Health Care Report'

Enough is Enough – Cuts in Federal Reimbursement

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I’m Doug Hawthorne, CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

In the words of the American Hospital Association, “Enough is enough!” During negotiations over health care reform, hospitals agreed to more than $155 billion dollars in reimbursement cuts over 10 years. Federal programs already underpay hospitals, and now we are facing possible additional cuts that could have a negative impact on everyone in the communities we serve.

We believe there are alternative ways to create real reforms and reduce the cost of health care.

It is critical that we protect the fragile Medicaid safety net that pays for care of the most vulnerable among us. Medicaid covers poor children and pregnant women as well as those who are indigent or disabled. For this program, we can implement models like Accountable Care Organizations, medical homes and pay-for-performance programs, which have proven to manage costs and enhance quality. We can also increase the use of generic drugs, restructure co-payments and design tax incentives for long-term care.

For Medicare, which covers mostly people over 65, we could increase beneficiary cost-sharing, adjust the eligibility age, and improve laws regulating medical malpractice liability. We could also consider a tax on junk food and a tax-exemption cap on employer-provided health insurance.

Texas Health will continue to engage policy makers and offer solutions for a balanced approach to real reform. We encourage you to add your voice to the dialogue.

For our faith-based family of hospitals — Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Harris Methodist and Texas Health Arlington Memorial — I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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