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Hospitals, Physicians Ask Super Committee to Protect GME Funding

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In a letter to the congressional “Super Committee” this week, 40 national hospital and physician groups, including the American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, and Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), asked Committee members to preserve Medicare beneficiaries’ access to health care services by protecting Medicare Graduate Medical Education (GME). The Medicare GME program enables teaching hospitals and academic medical centers to train physicians and furnish highly specialized care to the most medically complex patients.

The letter stated, “We are gravely concerned that reductions in Medicare’s existing support for GME potentially worsen an already problematic national physician workforce shortage.”  AAMC and other organizations project a shortage of 91,500 physicians by 2020, which will grow to 130,600 physicians by 2025.

The Super Committee, tasked with generating a plan by November 23 to reduce the federal deficit by at least $1.2 trillion, is considering significant reductions to Medicare GME funding. Should a Super Committee package fail to be adopted, an across-the-board spending cut, including up to a 2% Medicare cut, would take effect. Medicaid and Social Security are exempt. If the Committee plan garners less than $1.2 trillion in cuts, but becomes law, the Committee’s reductions would be coupled with across-the-board cuts under the sequestration trigger. This means hospitals and health systems are vulnerable to both.

HANYS continues to work with the New York State Congressional Delegation to weigh in with the Super Committee against deficit reduction proposals that would harm hospitals and health systems.  Resources on the Super Committee and the Medicare and Medicaid proposals under consideration are available on HANYS’ Health Care Reform NavigatorContact: Chelsi Stevens

Published October 5, 2011