It has become as familiar a sight in Washington as the cherry blossoms in spring: lobbyists from the nation's hospitals descending on the Capitol to ask lawmakers to postpone billions in Medicaid funding cuts prescribed by the Affordable Care Act — cuts industry leaders agreed to years ago.

It is unlikely the reductions will occur this year, if history is any indication. Since 2013, Congress has voted 13 times to delay them, siding with hospitals over their claims that losing the money would hinder the delivery of care.

Unless Congress acts by October, the federal government will cut $8 billion from this year's budget — then make the same cut each year for the next three years — for a Medicaid program intended to help safety-net facilities that serve a large share of Medicaid and uninsured patients. The amount budgeted varies annually, though in 2021 the program's spending totaled about $19 billion.

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