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Why Was the American Hospital Association (AHA) So Interested in the Creation of the Affordable Care Act?
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The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was a tremendously significant piece of health care legislation, particularly for hospitals that had much to gain—or lose—depending on the type of reforms implemented. 


Hospitals are under increasing pressure to cut costs and control spending. This reality, combined with the struggling economic climate, has made hospitals particularly concerned about how health reform will affect their bottom line. Thus, the American Hospital Association (AHA), the national organization that represents nearly 5,000 hospitals and health care networks in America, as well as 40,000 individual members, has a clear vested interest in health care reform, as it could change everything from hospital administration to patient care delivery to profitability.

Since 2008, the AHA has made sure to involve itself in the policy details of the ACA, as well as the political process that led to its passage. In 2009, the AHA spent more than $7 million dollars on its Washington lobbying campaign, ranked near the top spending in the industry. Tom Nickels, the AHA's senior vice president of federal relations, heads a team of 28 lobbyists, and the AHA also makes significant contributions to members of Congress and congressional candidates. In 2008 and 2010, the AHA contributed more than $2 million in each year to candidates, with more than $1 million going to Democrats, according to data from the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics. In addition, Richard Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the AHA, frequently visited the White House in 2009 in the months leading up to the ACA’s passage.

With so much at stake, the AHA ultimately positioned itself as a partner in health care reform. After a series of negotiations, the AHA, along with two other hospital associations, agreed to accept $155 billion worth of cuts in Medicare reimbursements and other payments throughout the next decade in order to help the government fund other reforms. Recently, Umbdenstock commented on the final legislation, saying, “We supported it, imperfect as it is. Now it is much more important to build on it and improve it.”

RELATED FAQS

Which Provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Does the American Hospital Association (AHA) Oppose?

Which Provisions of the Affordable Care Act Does the American Hospital Association Support?

How Do Health Insurers View the Affordable Care Act (ACA)? 

What Is the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Position on the Affordable Care Act (ACA)? 

What Is the Pharmaceutical Industry's Position on the Affordable Care Act? 


READ MORE ABOUT THIS TOPIC: Washington Post. (July 25, 2009). “As Health Reform Effort Intensifies, Hospitals Seek To Protect The Bottom Line.”; American Hospital Association. “About The AHA.”; National Journal. (August 19, 2009). “AHA's Vision For Health Care Reform.”; Opensecrets.Org “Influence & Lobbying-> PACS-> American Hospital Assn.”; The Kaiser Family Foundation. (April 2011). “THE INDEPENDENT PAYMENT ADVISORY BOARD: A NEW APPROACH TO CONTROLLING MEDICARE SPENDING”; New York Times. (March 25, 2011). “Hospital Groups Assess Health Care Law.”; American Hospital Association. “2011 Annual Meeting: Advocacy Messages”; American Hospital Association. (November 17, 2010). Letter To Jonathan D. Blum, Deputy Administrator, Center For Medicare & Medicaid Services.”; American Hospital Association. “Health For Life. Better Health. Better Health Care.”; American Hospital Association. (April 19, 2010). “Legislative Advisory: Summary Of 2010 Health Care Reform Legislation.”; Health Affairs Blog. (October 21, 2009). “An Interview With AHA President Rich Umbdenstock.”; American Hospital Association. (May 21, 2009). Comments To The Senate Finance Committee On Expanding Health Care Coverage: Proposals To Provide Affordable Coverage To All Americans.; AHA News. (January 6, 2012). “Hospital Groups File Brief On Severability Of ACA's Individual Mandate.”; Kaiser Family Foundation. StateHealthFacts.Org. “Medicaid-To-Medicare Fee Index, 2008.”; Kaiser Family Foundation. (April 2003). “THE UNINSURED IN RURAL AMERICA”; Kaiser Health News And USA Today. (July 6, 2011). “A Dozen States Slice Medicaid Payments To Doctors, Hospitals.”; Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP. (January 03, 2011). “AHA And AMA Weigh In On ACOs.”; American Medical Association. (April 7, 2010). “Major Medicare Savings Under Health Reform Legislation.”; New York Times. (December 2011). “G.O.P. Bill Would Benefit Doctor-Owned Hospitals.”
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