From the House Floor: Harmful impact of health care law on hospitals

December 4, 2013

Remarks:

Mr. Speaker, there has been much documented and published about the problems resulting from the Affordable Healthcare Act.

Millions of Americans are waking up to the cancellation of health insurance policies that they have depended on to meet their families’ needs at an affordable price.

Folks face sky rocketing premium and deductible increases coupled with the pressures of paying for coverage mandates that they do not want, cannot afford or may even have a moral objection too.

One area that has received little attention so far in this debate is what the impact on our Hospitals where much of needed health care is secured.

As a health care professional that served in rural hospitals for nearly 30 years as a therapist and manager I am confident that the future of rural and under-served urban hospitals is not good under the pressures and mandates of this law.

While some point to the millions of uninsured Americans who now have some type of coverage as a plus for the bottom line of hospitals, I would encourage a closer and more thoughtful look.

First the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that even after full implementation of the law there will still be tens of millions of Americans uninsured.

Based on current reports from across America this may include a lot of middle class Americans who find themselves unable to afford what Obama-care has dictated.

For Hospitals that assures the continuation of bad debt and charity care that hampers their balance sheets.

For lower income individuals now insured under expanded Medical Assistance it is true that Hospitals will now be paid forty to sixty cents for every dollar of care they provide – which is not exactly a sustainable margin but certainly a pathway to bankruptcy for Hospitals when coupled with the new found population of uninsured.

These costs don’t even begin to factor in the cost of compliance for the approximately 130 new regulatory agencies founded under the Obama-Care legislation.

Today the cost of compliance with government mandates including Medicare billing and HIPPA account for a significant part of any Hospital’s overhead expenses.

A hospital’s number one asset is the qualified and trained employees. The human resources cost of providing health care coverage for Hospitals is also increasing. These costs will increase as the Obama-care mandate is finally implemented just a year from now.

Finally consider the fees or taxes imposed on Hospitals in 2014.

Earlier this week a Hospital CEO from my Congressional District reported that “We’re going to have to pay close to $200,000 next year, as will every hospital”.

Hospitals will see various new fees, including a $5,000 levy so the government can do research on the effectiveness of hospitals working within the plan.

Additionally Hospitals will pay a $19,500 health insurers fee and a $160,000 transitional reinsurance fee that will go into a pot to protect insurance companies against the risk of winding up with numerous high-risk customers.

Given all these added costs for the Hospitals that Americans rely on for access to health care what is so affordable about the affordable care Act?

Mr. Speaker, Americans deserve better.  I yield back.

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