A new report by the American Hospital Association and the National Health Service (NHS) on the impact of cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) on patients’ health outcomes says the federal government should provide a greater focus on ensuring patients can access quality, affordable care through Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act.
The report, titled A New Strategy for Affordable Care, found that the federal health system needs a “new strategy” to help patients with chronic conditions like hypertension and high blood pressure, and that it should focus on “better alignment of federal and state efforts to improve access and quality.”
“We must recognize that many people in need of medical care are in need right now,” said Sara Lichtman, the president and CEO of the AMA Foundation for Health Policy and the President of the National Hospitals Association.
“It’s important to recognize that we’re not alone in this.”
The report also recommends that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) work together to “ensure that all Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries can access appropriate, affordable health care, and meet their health care needs.”
The two organizations have recently been working to coordinate a national effort to increase access to affordable health coverage.
In May, CMS unveiled a pilot program to expand access to CHIP eligibility for states that have implemented state-level cost-share reduction mandates.
The effort, which is expected to cost $5 billion, was designed to help states reduce their share of the cost of providing health care to Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries, but critics said the program was flawed.
The National Health Care Workforce Commission, a bipartisan task force, is also looking into ways to better align federal and local health care spending with the needs of patients, and how to achieve a “merit based” approach to reducing costs.
The new report, however, does not call for the federal governments to significantly increase federal spending on care, noting that the nation’s budget “remains under significant pressure.”
“As the nation faces challenges like chronic disease, economic insecurity, and rising health care costs, the federal budget must address its long-term deficits, improve its financial position, and provide the resources needed to maintain health and wellness,” said Robert P. Littman, president and chief executive officer of the American Medical Association.