Arizona Hospitals to benefit from Medicaid (AHCCCS) expansion

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Another reason to give Frank Antenori and his band of "I hate poor people" wingnuts the middle-finger salute on their petitions to refer Governor Brewer's Medicaid (AHCCCS) resotoration/expansion plan to the ballot. It improves the financial ability of hospitals to provide medical care, as opposed to Antenori's plan — poor people can just go to the emergency room for "charity care" — which is causing hospitals financial distress, and bankrupting patients who cannot pay for their medical care. Arizona hospitals to gain revenue under Medicaid expansion, state says:

Arizona hospitals should net $108 million in the first six months of
2014 under a Medicaid expansion plan, even after paying their new
assessments, according to a state study.

The report details how
much each of the state’s hospitals would be expected to pay to
underwrite the legislatively approved plan to increase the number of
people with government-funded health coverage by about 300,000.

In
virtually all of those cases, the hospitals will get more in payments
for taking care of Medicaid patients than they will pay out.

Overall, hospitals will shell out more than $75.3 million, a figure computed on each facility’s number of patients.

Those funds will be used to finance the plan pushed through the Legislature by Gov. Jan Brewer
to restore coverage for some single adults who do not now have it as
well as add adults, single and otherwise, whose income is above the
federal poverty level — about $19,530 a year for a family of three — but
below an adjusted figure of 138 percent.

But the assessment plan crafted by the Brewer administration also has some special carve-outs.

Most
notable is the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, which will pay nothing at
all. But the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System report
estimates that expanded Medicaid coverage will boost that hospital’s
bottom line by more than $749,000.

In exempting Mayo, the
governor’s office both avoided picking a fight during the legislative
session and gained the unqualified support of the Arizona Hospital and
Healthcare Association. That’s because the plan means every hospital
chain will benefit financially, some significantly.

Small psychiatric hospitals also are exempt.

* * *

The plan, set to kick in Jan. 1, is premised on foes of expansion
failing in their bid to gather enough signatures to force the question
onto the 2014 ballot. If they succeed, the state cannot implement
expansion before that election takes place.

AHCCCS, which is designed to cover most people below the poverty
level, currently gets about $2 in federal cash for every dollar of state
money. But the federal Affordable Care Act has a provision to pick up
virtually all of the additional cost if states expand eligibility to 138
percent of the poverty level.

The reason there is a cost for
Arizona is that the state, in an earlier budget-cutting move, stopped
enrolling childless adults below the federal poverty level in the
program. So the state has to come up with money to restore that coverage
to be eligible for the additional cash for expansion.

Hospitals
agreed to the assessment based on the belief that anything they
contribute will be more than made up by having fewer patients show up
without insurance. Coury said the assessment plan is built around that
premise.

Jim Haynes, chief operating officer for
the hospital association, said it had to be crafted that way. He pointed
out that the law says no hospital can pass on any of its assessment to
patients who are paying their own bills.

* * *

Haynes said the estimates of each hospital’s potential gain from an
expanded Medicaid program are based on 2011 numbers  that may not be
applicable in 2014.

“It’s just something we’ll have to track and
monitor going forward,” he said, to be sure that hospitals are getting
what they expect.

Do the fiscally responsible and morally just thing to do. Don't sign Antenori's hateful petitions.

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