Colorado hospitals emphasize business stake in Medicaid

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State Scan

Colorado hospitals emphasize business stake in Medicaid

By Daniel B. Moskowitz, Contributing Editor

Business leaders not infrequently give speeches saying that they are concerned with the overall health of the community. But how often do they devote corporate energies to programs that do not directly affect their own employees? The Colorado Health and Hospital Association is actively trying to get local employers to do exactly that in order to raise Medicaid reimbursements.

The group calculates that Colorado hospitals lost $45 million on Medicaid patients in 1999. Now the state is proposing a $21.7 million cut in the program, on top of a cut of around $5 million last year. "It's critically important for the business community to understand that if [Medicaid] payments are short, costs are being shifted to them," association President Larry Wall argues. "This really is a hidden tax on business."

The hospital group thus far has persuaded business publications in the state to do articles about the Medicaid crisis and goaded the Denver Chamber of Commerce into appointing a task force to recommend Medicaid restructuring. Most significantly, the board of the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry adopted a resolution backing the hospitals' campaign against further Medicaid budget cuts. The statewide group hasn't put the issue on its own lobbying agenda, but it is writing its members and encouraging them to contact their state lawmakers. "Those two steps will certainly help us," Wall insists, "but the jury is still out."


Daniel Moskowitz. Colorado hospitals emphasize business stake in Medicaid.

Business and Health