Axios Vitals: Health care bailout fund reaches $175 billion
Hospitals, doctors’ practices and other health care providers are getting another $75 billion in taxpayer money to cover the fallout of the coronavirus outbreak, bringing the total pot of bailout funds to $175 billion, Axios’ Bob Herman reports.
The big picture: The first $30 billion has been dispersed to providers based on Medicare billings, which raised the ire of hospitals that treat higher amounts of poor patients and children.
The federal government has said the next “targeted distributions” will go to providers in COVID-19 hotspots, rural hospitals and groups that predominantly treat Medicaid patients.
Where it stands: Elective procedures and appointments — and the large amounts of revenue associated with them — have dramatically decreased while providers prepared for the surge of coronavirus patients and bought more protective gear for workers.
Between the lines: Critics have questioned whether federal officials are distributing the funds appropriately, and now the government will oversee even more cash.
Small doctors’ groups, rural providers and safety net facilities have said the money is life-or-death for them, but they aren’t getting proportionate amounts.
Meanwhile, Envision Healthcare, the private-equity-backed physician staffing firm that has become synonymous with surprise billing, has received sizable taxpayer help even as the company cuts doctors’ pay and considers bankruptcy.