July 15, 2011
New York State’s prestigious teaching hospitals could lose more than $1 billion a year as part of plans under negotiation in Washington to reduce the federal deficit that the hospitals say will lead to drastic service reductions.
The cuts would reduce the Medicare subsidy for training doctors and for providing intensive medical services like trauma centers and burn units and sophisticated equipment that the teaching hospitals offer. The plan would apply to teaching hospitals nationwide but would have its most profound impact in cities like New York and Boston, where medical schools and their affiliated hospitals have a significant presence.
Dating to the 1960s, the subsidy has helped make New York State the world capital of medical education, training about 16,000 doctors a year, or 14.5 percent of the nation’s total, more than any other state.
The benefits have been criticized for years by both conservatives and liberals who see them as a sweetheart deal for teaching hospitals in a few states. But now, with the pressure on the federal budget, they are being seriously considered in talks among the Obama administration and leaders of both parties in Congress.