With Medicaid disproportionate share payments (Medicaid DSH) facing future reductions, the agency charged with advising Congress on Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance payment and access matters is considering what changes the federal supplemental Medicaid payment program might need.

macpacAt a recent meeting in Washington, D.C., the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission discussed the changing role and purpose of Medicaid DSH as more Americans obtain health insurance through private or public sources. MACPAC commissioners noted that hospital uncompensated care is falling, especially in states that have taken advantage of the Affordable Care Act to expand their Medicaid programs.

A new Medicaid DSH formula set to be used for FY 2018, based more heavily than the current formula on the number of uninsured people in individual states, is expected to result in larger-than-average reductions for hospitals in Medicaid expansion states.

Among the steps commissioners discussed were examining how hospitals use their Medicaid DSH funds; considering how any changes in the distribution of Medicaid DSH funds might affect other parts of states’ health care systems; and the role states should play in determining the allocation of Medicaid DSH funds.

Medicaid DSH funds are a vital source of support to help private safety-net hospitals care for their many uninsured patients.

For a closer look at the issue and MACPAC’s deliberations, see this CQ Roll Call article presented by the Commonwealth Fund.