Organizations React to FY 2013 Budget Plan

In the president’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2013, more than $300 billion was cut from the Department of Health and Human Services. The majority of that money is being taken from Medicare and Medicaid services and organizations are expressing their dissatisfaction.

Yesterday, president and chief executive officer the Association of American Medical Colleges, Darrel G. Kirch, MD, released his statement that the organization was “deeply concerned” as the cuts to teaching hospitals would hurt the elderly and underserved.

Today, the AARP released its own statement that proposals cannot continually be made that just shift costs to senior citizens.

“While AARP supports efforts to reduce health care costs, we oppose proposals that would either shift costs to seniors or simply reduce the hard-earned Medicare benefits that millions of seniors depend upon every day for their health security,” wrote AARP Chief Executive Officer A. Barry Rand. “It is neither balanced nor fair to ask seniors, whose median annual income is less than $20,000, to contribute even more for their health care.”

Instead, AARP suggested that the health care delivery system needs to be improved by reducing waste, fraud and inefficiency. The current plan does not address high health costs, Rand said.

“If we are serious about lowering health care costs, we cannot simply focus on Medicare and Medicaid for savings,” he wrote.

Rich Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the American Hospital Associatoin, wrote that the budget is bad news and could mean “fewer nurses, less access to cutting-edge treatments and longer waits for emergency care.”

And while hospitals added jobs in January, there are already proposed Medicare cuts that could mean 287,000 jobs are lost.

"This budget proposal would jeopardize the ability of teaching and children’s hospitals to train the next generation of physicians, harm care for the people in rural communities by reducing funding for critical access hospitals and reduce assistance that helps defray some of these costs to low-income seniors,” Umbdenstock wrote.