Rep. Eliot Engel, a Democrat who represents New York’s 16th congressional district, encompassing parts of the Bronx and Westchester County, has introduced legislation that would repeal mandated cuts to Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital payments.

Safety-net hospitals that serve high numbers of low-income and uninsured patients will face a financial shortfall of $4 billion in fiscal 2020 and $8 billion in fiscal 2021, should the cuts take place Oct. 1 as scheduled.

Engel’s proposed Patient Access Protection Act closely follows his efforts earlier this month to delay cuts to Medicaid DSH payments. At the time, he and Rep. Pete Olson of Texas issued a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy that requested the delay; it was signed by 300 members of Congress.

“But that’s still only a Band-Aid,” Engel said in a statement. “What we need is a full repeal of these cuts codified into law.”

The Patient Access Protection Act would accomplish that feat as current federal law mandates severe cuts to Medicaid DHS payments.

President Ronald Reagan and Congress created Medicaid DSH payments in 1985 to sustain safety-net hospitals that incur uncompensated costs and operate on narrow or negative margins. Since 2013 Congress has delayed cuts to the program four times, including through the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.

“Medicaid is a critical lifeline for nearly a third of New Yorkers. Just as important are the safety-net hospitals that deliver quality care and serve them,” Engel said in a statement earlier this month. “These hospitals already operate on slim margins. If Medicaid DSH cuts were implemented, it would have a devastating impact on these critical facilities, potentially leading many to close their doors.”

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Engel introduces bill that would repeal Medicaid DSH cuts – Crain’s New York Business