Hundreds of advocates for Iowa hospitals crowded into the statehouse Wednesday to make a direct appeal for more state money for the institutions. The Iowa Hospital Association is asking lawmakers for a three-percent increase in the reimbursement rate the state pays hospitals when they treat a Medicare patient. Chuck Osing, president of Ottumwa Regional Health Center’s auxiliary, says state payments to hospitals just don’t cover the costs hospitals incur to treatment Medicaid patients. “They’re way short every year,” he says. Osing says legislators also need to raise the state cigarette tax and dedicate the new money raised to health care. “They have ideas. We have ideas, but we hope they listen to us,” Osing says. “That’s all we can do.” About a thousand people attended the Iowa Hospital Association’s annual meeting in Des Moines Wednesday and most trekked to the statehouse to speak state senators and representatives.
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