Push to renew Medicare payments for rural hospitals

GLOVERSVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Critical Medicare payment programs that are essential to over 40 hospitals throughout New York are expiring, which would deeply cut into the funds of small health providers.

“You can say its life or death, and I think that’s fair,” Sen. Charles Schumer said.

Schumer announced on Friday that if two Medicare payment programs are not reinstated within the next few months, rural hospitals across New York State could be losing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“I will be doing whatever I can and using whatever clout I have as Minority Leader in the United States Senate to make sure these programs are fully funded before the new year,” he said.

Rural hospitals are largely funded by the Medicare payment programs, including the Low-Volume and Medicare-Dependent Hospital programs, that expired in September. If the programs are not reauthorized soon, the lack of funds could severely impact jobs and hospital operations.

“I don’t want to scare employees into thinking that the hospital could go under; the hospital could not survive,” Nathan Littauer Hospital Pres. CEO Laurence Kelly said.

But, according to Schumer, healthcare is under attack in more ways than one. Pres. Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday that he said will start the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Some of the changes would allow employers to buy health coverage from outside the state.

“The problem with buying healthcare outside the state is the outside state people pick off the healthiest customers and that raises the rate on everybody else,” Schumer said.

Schumer said his party will continue to push for more bipartisan efforts to solve these critical health care issues.

“These kinds of things, to pull them away and what the president did yesterday, will hurt millions and millions of middle class and poor people is the wrong way to do it,” Schumer said.

 

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