President Bush is poised to take advantage of the fine print in the rule that currently pays public hospitals up to 150% of costs to offset indigent care, reducing the percentage to 100% of costs. His reasons are obvious, given the recent downturn in the economy and his squandering the federal budget surplus through his tax rebate checks.
Kenneth Cohen, the new CEO of the Alameda County Medical Center (ACMC), says, "This could be a reality soon. This is as serious a funding threat as we will see." Melinda Paras, Executive Director of Health Access and also Chair of the ACMC Trustees Board, says, "There is the potential of all public hospitals in California closing if these cuts are made."
The three states this will impact most are California, Illinois and New York. In Los Angeles, SEIU hospital workers are responding with a mass rally at the county hospital on September 6th. But it may be too late. It is possible that Bush will decide to gut public hospital budgets by reducing the percentage of cost offset before Labor Day.
We urgently need you to take five minutes in the next 24 hours to email or call U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson and President Bush to oppose this direct assault on care for the uninsured, including immigrants, people of color, and low-income families.
The message is simple and clear: Keep the Medicaid federal rule on the upper payment limit at 150% of costs to offset indigent care. Do not cut the upper payment limit to 100%.
Please phone Secretary Thompson toll free at (877)696-6775 His email is firstname.lastname@example.org
. However, phoning has more political impact than emailing.
President Bush must hear from all of us. The White House switchboard is: 202-456-1414. (The email is: email@example.com