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Hospitals launch campaign to preserve Medicaid funding

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WASHINGTON - In a new campaign to educate policymakers about Medicaid's value to patients and the economy, the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (NAPH) today launched a series of short videos and banners and a related website of research, position papers and other resources.

The advertisements underscore the value of Medicaid coverage to the health and well-being of the more than 60 million people in the program - mostly children, women and the disabled. The campaign also highlights Medicaid's value to state and local economies by keeping workers healthy and on the job and contributing to job creation and other economic activity in health care and related sectors.

"Medicaid is not only good for patients, it's good for communities," says NAPH President and CEO Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH. "The evidence clearly shows the personal health and financial benefits of the program and its efficiency compared with private insurance and Medicare. But beyond its obvious benefits to health, Medicaid injects economic life into communities and states."

Medicaid also provides a key source of support for the hospitals and health systems that serve society's most vulnerable and deliver essential community services, such as trauma and burn care and disaster response, Dr. Siegel said. "Medicaid touches us all," he said. "Everyone suffers when already limited safety net funding is cut."

Congress and the administration have put Medicaid on the table as a possible source of savings to avert the fiscal cliff and reform entitlement programs. Proposals vary, but all would strip away billions of dollars from a program that already faces severe funding shortfalls. For example, in expectation of a full national expansion of Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) dramatically reduced federal payments to hospitals that serve a disproportionate share of uninsured. But the Supreme Court upset that balance by making expansion voluntary for states, many of which have since balked at expanding coverage.

NAPH research shows that safety net hospitals drive nearly 800,000 jobs nationwide and help grow state economies by more $120 billion. Even modest cuts to Medicaid put hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk and would bleed billions of dollars in federal support to states. Such a loss of funding would force states to turn to taxpayers for additional revenue and likely would result in hospitals ending or scaling back important community services, such as specialty care clinics.

Videos from the campaign, research and other supporting materials are available at ProtectMedicaid.org.


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