On Dec. 11, the United States Senate Finance Committee unveiled an updated version of parts of the Build Back Better Act. Among the most notable changes, the bill has removed the Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) cuts of 12.5% for the 12 states that have not fully expanded Medicaid.
As covered in a previous edition of The Valued Voice, WHA had expressed strong concerns to the Wisconsin congressional delegation over these punitive and misguided cuts. While Wisconsin would not have been as impacted by these cuts as other non-expansion states, given its relatively low use of the Medicaid DSH program in comparison to other states, WHA nevertheless objected over this policy that would punish hospitals despite them having no control over whether their states accept Medicaid expansion.
WHA also noted that "this proposal would unfairly punish Wisconsin—even though it has no coverage gap—by limiting our future flexibility should our state decide to maximize our state DSH contributions like many other states do," in a letter to Wisconsin’s congressional delegation health care staff back in November.
Democratic Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock from Georgia, a state projected to lose a significant amount of DSH funding should the cuts have taken effect, wrote a letter to House and Senate leaders last month warning against imposing additional financial constraints on hospitals during the challenging COVID pandemic.
It is unknown whether the Senate intends to act on its version of the Build Back Better Act prior to the end of 2022, but WHA is continuing to follow the issue closely.
Contact WHA Vice President of Federal and State Relations Jon Hoelter with questions.