By Jill Drachenberg, Editor, AHC Media

The United States must brace for a health crisis if the Trump Administration repeals the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without a replacement, according to a report commissioned by two leading healthcare associations.

The American Hospital Association (AHA) and Federation of American Hospitals (FAH) released the joint report on Tuesday that warned of an “unprecedented public health crisis” if more than 28 million people lose health coverage obtained under the ACA. In a scenario with no replacement plan, the report estimates that hospitals will lose $165.8 billion between 2018 and 2026. Hospitals also stand to take an additional $289.5 billion hit in Medicare inflation updates if payment reductions are not restored. Local communities also will take crippling hits due to potential health system layoffs and the inability of hospitals to provide needed services.

AHA and FHA leaders urged President-elect Trump and Congress to include restoration of Medicare inflation updates and the Medicare and Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital payments in any ACA replacement legislation. “Restoring these cuts for the future is absolutely essential to enable hospitals and health systems to provide the care that the patients and communities we serve both expect and deserve,” wrote AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack and FHA President and CEO Chip Kahn in a statement. “Losses of this magnitude cannot be sustained and will adversely impact patients’ access to care, decimate hospitals’ and health systems’ ability to provide services, weaken local economies that hospitals help sustain and grow, and result in massive job losses.”

For more information on how ACA repeal may affect care coordination, see the January 2017 issue of Case Management Advisor.