The Corner

Obamacare Cuts to Cost Two Virginia Medical Centers $500 million in Federal Funds

Two Virginia medical centers are set to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds to care for the uninsured under cuts from Obamacare.

University of Virginia Medical Center and Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center will lose roughly $500 million from 2017 to 2022 thanks to cuts contained in the law. Virginia secretary of Health and Human Resources William A. Hazel Jr. informed the medical centers of the cuts Tuesday during a meeting of the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission.

The annual federal funds are matched by the state for hospitals which care for a “disproportionate share” of the uninsured – VCU and University of Virginia are the top two such hospitals in the Old Dominion – and include money for academic medical centers. The federal government has already begun cutting back on payments for indigent care, but the cuts are expected to pick up in 2017.

Virginia has so far not opted to expand Medicaid after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could not force states to do so. The cuts were included in the law on the expectation that the states would pick up the slack with Medicaid. According to Dr. Sheldon M. Retchin, VCU Health System’s chief executive officer, things will “look like Calcutta” as a result.

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