Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today announced that 20 Iowa hospitals have received over $20.8 million in additional Medicare reimbursements under a provision of the Affordable Care Act known as the "Lowest Quartile Provision." These Iowa hospitals have historically been underpaid because Medicare bases payments largely on geography.
During the healthcare reform debate in 2010, Braley led efforts to save taxpayers' money by eliminating geographic disparities and changing the way Medicare reimburses doctors and hospitals. In a late-night negotiating session with Congressional leaders, Braley successfully added a provision to the Affordable Care Act to provide catch-up payments to hospitals located in the lowest 25 percent of counties receiving Medicare reimbursements.
"For decades, Iowa's doctors and hospitals have been punished for no reason other than geography," said Rep. Braley. "These payments are one more step toward ending these geographic disparities and reforming our Medicare system so it finally rewards quality of care instead of the number of procedures performed. Successfully implementing these reforms will save taxpayers billions of dollars."
Last year, the same 20 hospitals received a total of $12.5 million in catch-up payments under this law. Under the "Lowest Quartile Provision", Iowa has received the 4th highest amount of payments of any state.
Iowa doctors and hospitals have long received lower Medicare reimbursements than providers in other states because of a Medicare reimbursement formula that focused on geographic location over quality of care. Despite offering some of the highest-quality, lowest-cost care in the nation, Iowa hospitals and doctors have historically been among some of the lowest-reimbursed providers in the country.