Cincinnati hospitals come out against Senate health care bill

CINCINNATI -- Two Cincinnati hospitals have spoken out against the Senate’s proposed health care bill.

The presidents of UC Health and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center sent letters to their staff this week, emphasizing the importance of meeting the community’s needs in light of the hot debate on health care reform. 

The letter from Cincinnati Children’s president Michael Fisher called on employees to “speak up” for children whose Medicaid coverage could be affected by the bill.

“We do not believe this legislation, as written, will meet the health needs of all kids,” Fisher wrote. 

Federal spending on Medicaid would be reduced by $772 billion over the next 10 years, compared to current law, if the bill passes in its current form. Some 15 million fewer Americans would be covered by Medicaid in 2026, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office

To combat this, Fisher asked Cincinnati Children’s employees to contact lawmakers and ask them to protect Medicaid for children.

UC Health president Richard Lofgren sent a letter to staff members Wednesday that aimed to make sure employees “understand UC Health’s purpose and that they hear the collective voices of our patients, employees and providers.”

The letter also asked UC Health's staff to contact lawmakers in an effort to "advocate" for their patients.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell initially pushed for a vote on the bill this week before lawmakers take a July 4 recess. That push was later delayed due to a lack of votes.

There are 52 Republican senators, and McConnell needs 50 "yes" votes to move the bill through the Senate. At least five Republicans have so far publicly stated that they cannot support the legislation in its current form.

President Donald Trump has pushed for the passage of the bill, citing a "death spiral" for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. 

"Obamacare is dead. I've been saying it for a long time," Trump told supporters during a trip to Cincinnati earlier this month.

McConnell told GOP senators that he wants to make changes to the bill, get a new Congressional Budget Office score and have a vote after the holiday. 

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