Krishnamoorthi Investigates New HHS Penalties That May Strip Millions of Medicare and Medicaid Hospital Coverage
Washington, D.C. (Oct. 8, 2020)— Today, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, sent a letter to Secretary Alex Azar, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requesting information about reported plans to impose draconian penalties—the loss of Medicare and Medicaid funding—against hospitals that do not satisfactorily comply with new coronavirus reporting requirements.
The action will potentially strip tens of millions of Americans of health care, since they receive inpatient and outpatient care at hospitals that accept Medicare and Medicaid. According to the latest CMS figures, at least 12.4 million Americans annually rely on Medicare or Medicaid for inpatient hospital services. Around 25 million Americans receive outpatient hospital care through Medicaid. Another 25 million received outpatient services, including at hospitals, through Medicare.
“While we all want the most accurate and up-to-date coronavirus data, HHS is going about getting it in the wrong way. It is unacceptable to jeopardize Americans’ health care during a pandemic,” said Subcommittee Chair Krishnamoorthi. “But it appears to fit a pattern of hostility to universal health care. The Trump Administration is also trying to strip health insurance from millions more Americans by asking that federal courts overturn the Affordable Care Act, without offering a comprehensive replacement.”
The threatened penalty is unreasonable, since the Trump Administration has substantially changed reporting protocols in the middle of the pandemic. In July, HHS ordered hospitals to stop their long-standing practice of reporting data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and instead report data to HHS using new protocols that provided no discernible benefits. HHS’s new guidance reportedly requires hospitals to collect and report more new information, including information on influenza cases to be reported seven days a week.
“I call on you to announce that HHS will not withhold Medicare and Medicaid funding from any hospital during the coronavirus crisis,” added Subcommittee Chair Krishnamoorthi.
The Subcommittee is now requesting data on the hospitals enrolled in the Medicare and/or Medicaid programs that have failed to meet HHS’s new reporting requirements, whether the hospitals have partially met HHS’s new reporting requirements and the amount each hospital in that list received in federal funding from Medicare and Medicaid for each of the past three years. The Subcommittee is also requesting a list of hospitals enrolled in Medicare and/or Medicaid that have complied with HHS’s new reporting requirements.
The Subcommittee requests the documents by October 20, 2020.
Click here to read today’s letter.