Grassroots Spotlight: U.S. Rep. Grothman Attends WHA Roundtable Discussion

October 27, 2017

U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman met with health system and hospital leaders from his district at a Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) roundtable discussion hosted at Aurora Medical Center–Oshkosh. At the meeting, attendees discussed health care reform, federal exchange cost-sharing subsidies and priority issues like 340B, CHIP and Medicare “extenders.”

Aurora Health Care’s North Region Executive Vice President Jeff Bard kicked off the discussion with health care reform. With various health care reform proposals this year resulting in increased instability in the federal insurance marketplace, the group highlighted the confusion for their patients who will soon need to choose insurance plans on the exchange. Attendees discussed at length the need for Congress to stabilize the marketplace and fund the Affordable Care Act’s “cost-sharing reductions” (CSRs) in light of the Trump administration’s indication it will no longer fund these CSRs.

The group also discussed concerns with the growing regulatory burden hospitals and providers must deal with on a daily basis and expressed strong opposition to proposals coming out of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that would cut the 340B program. This drug discount program is vital to the work of many Disproportionate Share Hospitals in Wisconsin that will see significant payment cuts if the CMS proposal is finalized. Grothman expressed his willingness to contact CMS on the 340B program, saying, “I am happy to weigh in with CMS and am not afraid to fight.”

As discussion moved through various topics, Aurora Medical Center–Oshkosh President Dr. John Newman turned to Grothman and asked, “How does Congress expect me to run my hospital when it continues to throw all these issues and changes at me?”

Jenny Boese, WHA vice president, federal affairs & advocacy, reminded Rep. Grothman that CHIP needs to be funded and key Medicare payments, known as the “Medicare Dependent Hospital” and Low Volume Adjustment,” extended.

“While these Medicare extender payments impact a smaller sub-set of Wisconsin’s rural, non-critical access hospitals,” said Boese, “they can be the difference between a hospital having a margin or not.”

This story originally appeared in the October 27, 2017 edition of WHA Newsletter