In the fierce debate in Washington over the national debt limit and the federal deficit, some ideas being floated in Congress would cut hospitals' Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements to the tune of more than $100 billion, a move that "could overload emergency rooms, shut down trauma units and reduce access to the latest treatments," according to the Coalition to Protect America's Health Care.

Yesterday, the Coalition launched a television ad in which a man and two women ask lawmakers, "What were you thinking?"

"Did you think we wouldn't notice that you suggested cutting funding for hospitals?" one woman asks.

"Bad idea," declares the second woman.

"Very bad idea," the man concurs.

The trio concludes by urging viewers to call their legislators at 1-866-887-CARE and voice their displeasure over cuts to Medicare and Medicaid hospital payments.

The new ad is part of a national effort begun two weeks ago by the Coalition, which includes the American Hospital Association and other leading hospital groups, as well as Premier and VHA. In addition to TV and print ads, the effort includes an analysis by the AHA, the American Medical Association, AARP and others detailing the potential impact of across-the-board spending caps.