The American Health Care Act (AHCA), as passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, will reduce federal spending on Medicaid by more than $834 billion over the next 10 years. And the recently released Senate bill appears to cut Medicaid even more deeply. In addition to repealing the Medicaid expansion, the bills place caps on the federal dollars that states receive to provide health insurance to millions of low-income Americans, including the elderly, disabled, and people with opioid addiction.
We modeled the impact of this loss of Medicaid funding on U.S. hospitals and found that, over the next 10 years, hospitals in all states, but especially hospitals in Medicaid expansion states, will see an increase in uncompensated care—a treatment or service not paid for by an insurer or patient. We also saw declines in hospitals’ operating margins, particularly among hospitals in expansion states. Rural hospitals in nonexpansion states also would face marked operating margin decreases.
In the interactive state-by-state maps below, we present the estimated impact of the Medicaid provisions in the House-passed AHCA on the finances of all U.S. hospitals. The hospitals in the District of Columbia and the 31 states that expanded Medicaid are projected to see a 78 percent increase in uncompensated care costs between 2017 and 2026. Eleven of these states will see uncompensated care costs at least double between 2017 and 2026. For example, Nevada hospitals will see a 98 percent increase, West Virginia a 122 percent increase, and Kentucky a 165 percent increase.
In addition to growing uncompensated care, our projections indicate that under the AHCA, hospitals in most states will experience a decline in Medicaid revenues, even though the law restores Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments. Hospitals in Medicaid expansion states may experience a 14 percent drop in Medicaid revenues between 2017 and 2026, compared to a 3 percent anticipated reduction among hospitals in the 19 states that did not expand. Some states may see more dramatic drops. Arkansas hospitals, for example, are estimated to see a 31 percent decline in Medicaid revenue over the next 10 years.