Hospitals CEOs meet to discuss American Health Care Act

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Hospital CEOs went to New Orleans for a meeting to discuss American Health Care Act, the replacement bill to the Affordable Care Act.

AHCA will make changes to federal funding for Medicaid as written.

A CEO to one of the biggest hospitals in Wichita Falls said they're concerned about the cap on federal funding for Medicaid patients proposed.

Phyllis Cowling, United Regional CEO, said many hospitals across the countries fear the increase in uncompensated care. Medicaid only covers a little more than 50 cents on the dollars in Texas.

"That's still better than zero," Cowling said. "If you have less people able to access Medicaid, because of some of the changes in the program. That is very concerning in terms of uncompensated care."

On ACA, the federal government provides states federal funding depending on how much they spent on beneficiaries.

But under AHCA, that will change to a set amount every year per enrollee. Cowling said that may restrict Medicaid. Her concern is the significant implications those restrictions can have on Texans.

"In terms of coverage, in terms of benefits and ultimately in terms of access to healthcare," Cowling said.

Advocates of AHCA said the new bill would give states the ability to adjust health care coverage but Cowling said that's simply untrue.

"Proponents of the bill are suggesting that it will give more flexibility to the states but make no mistake what it would do is reduce funding to the states," Cowling said.

Hospitals gave up more than $150 billion dollars in Medicare compensation when the Affordable Care Act was introduced expecting to get that money back through Medicaid.

Cowling said she hopes hospitals get the Medicare money back with changes to the new bill because losing both will be costly for hospitals in uncompensated costs.

Earlier this week the Congressional Budget Office released their report on the American Health Care Act. The CBO estimates the bill would reduce the federal deficit by $337 billion dollars between 2017-2026.