May 18, 2016: Statement of Betsy Ryan, NJHA president and CEO, on proposed additional charity care funding cuts
We are very concerned about the potential for even greater cuts to the charity care services that hospitals provide to our uninsured residents. Last year, charity care was reduced by $148 million; this proposal would bring this coming year’s reduction to $200 million, for a total charity care amount of $302 million available in the next year. Even with expanded health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, New Jersey hospitals provided more than a half-billion dollars in charity care services in 2014 (the most recent year for which preliminary data is available.)
We understand these are difficult decisions, but it’s essential to remember that the Affordable Care Act does not cover the undocumented residents of our state, a population that totals more than 500,000. Those individuals, along with others who have fallen through the ACA’s cracks, continue to come to hospital emergency rooms for their care. In addition, the vast majority of New Jersey’s newly insured are enrolled in Medicaid – a program that only pays hospitals about 70 percent of the actual costs of care
We are disappointed that healthcare funding for the most vulnerable population has been targeted by these cuts. We look forward to working with Legislature and the Governor on this important issue.