Hospitals ask Congress to cancel $ 100 billion in fast-track Medicare loans

Major hospital groups ask Congress to cancel $ 100 billion in Medicare accelerated and prepayment loans, says CNBC.

CMS will begin withholding new Medicare payments on August 1 until the loans, authorized by the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act, are repaid. If the loans are not repaid within a year, they will have to pay 10% interest, according to the report.

The American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals have said healthcare systems cannot repay loans at this time as many remain under financial pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Of all the financial issues providers face regarding federal aid, this is the most critical … which could be crippling for hospitals amid new outbreaks of COVID,” said Charles Kahn, CEO of the Federation of American hospitals. CNBC.

American Hospital Association CEO Rick Pollack also said the association is asking for Medicare payments to be canceled.

“It’s a mechanically simple way to provide instant relief to people on the ground,” Pollack said. CNBC.

The House and Senate relief bills proposed to restructure Medicare loans. For example, the House proposed giving hospitals more time to pay and reducing the interest rate to 1%. In addition, the Senate GOP proposal published on July 27 calls for pushing back the repayment start date to January 1, 2021 and extending the overall loan repayment deadline.

Read the full report here.

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