KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Mass. Hospitals Get Medicare Funding Lift, Lots Of Criticism

The state's hospitals will get $275 million more a year in Medicare payments because of a special provision inserted in the health law. Critical reactions are coming from both inside and outside of Massachusetts.

The Boston Globe: Medicare Gives State Hospitals $275M Lift
Massachusetts hospitals will get $275 million more a year in Medicare payments because of a provision inserted into the nation's new health care law that benefits the state, angering hospitals across the country that will get less money as a result. Medicare adopted the change last week, as required by an amendment to the health care law cosponsored by Senator John F. Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat. The amendment essentially requires Medicare to reimburse all Massachusetts hospitals for employee wages at at least the same rate that it reimburses Nantucket Cottage Hospital, a windfall that Partners HealthCare set in motion in 2007, when the Nantucket hospital became its subsidiary. Wages on the island are hefty because of its isolated location and high cost of living (Kowalczyk, 8/5). 

The Boston Globe: Harsh Words On State Medicare 'Grab'
The news that Massachusetts hospitals will get an extra $275 million from Medicare while 41 states lose money has ruffled some feathers - and not just in board rooms of out-of-state hospitals. Alan Sager, professor of health policy and management at the Boston University School of Public Health, called the efforts to secure the money by reclassifying a hospital and changing the Medicare rules repugnant. In an e-mailed statement today, Senator John Kerry said the change was a win for Massachusetts and other states. Hospitals here were getting their due, he said (Conaboy, 8/4). 

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