Obamacare is Hurting Kentucky Hospitals
‘A recent report showed that Obamacare’s multi-billion dollar attack on hospitals in Kentucky is expected to result in a net loss of $1 billion over the next few years.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the broken promises of Obamacare and the impact on Kentucky families and hospitals:
“It’s good to see forward momentum on trade. It’s good for the American people.
“But there are other issues that both parties should want to address too: like the broken promises of Obamacare.
“It would be nice to see more bipartisan support there. I hope we will.
“Because we all know that Obamacare is a law filled with broken promises.
“We all keep seeing reminders of how it fails too many of the same people we were told it would help.
“And in Kentucky, we’re seeing how hospitals and their patients are feeling the negative effects of this partisan law. That’s particularly true in rural areas of my state.
“A recent report showed that Obamacare’s multi-billion dollar attack on hospitals in Kentucky is expected to result in a net loss of $1 billion over the next few years. Let me repeat that, a net loss of $1 billion.
“These hospitals are expected to lose more money under Obamacare than they’re expected to gain in new revenue from expanded coverage.
“And, largely due to Obamacare, these losses are forcing Kentucky hospitals to cut jobs, reduce or freeze wages, and — in some instances — even close altogether.
“Officials report that Kentucky hospitals are suffering partly because more than three out of every four Kentuckians who signed up for Obamacare was put on Medicaid, and we know that Medicaid reimburses hospitals for less than it costs to treat patients.
“And so, despite promises that greater access to coverage would decrease visits to the emergency room and the cost associated with those visits, the vast majority of emergency room doctors now say they’ve actually experienced a ‘surge’ in patients visiting the ER since Obamacare came into effect.
“In fact, a recent survey reported that thousands of ER doctors have actually seen an increase in emergency room visits since the start of last year.
“One physician from Lexington was quoted as saying he’d seen ‘a huge backlog in the ER because the volume has increased.’ He went on to say that ER volume rose by almost a fifth in the first few months of this year, which is nearly double what he saw last year.
“There are a lot of reasons for these increases but, as one ER physician put it, ‘visits are going up despite the ACA, and in a lot of cases because of it.’
“Volume in the ER is driven as a result of coverage expansion that has largely been born by the Medicaid program.
“As I’ve said previously though, increasing coverage does not guarantee access to care, and prior to Medicaid expansion, Kentucky already faced a shortage of physicians participating in Medicaid.
“Now, there are more than 300,000 additional enrollees in an already broken system.
“And so, when Americans on Medicaid get sick and can’t find a doctor who will treat Medicaid patients, where do they end up?
“The emergency room.
“Here’s how one Kentucky newspaper described it last year.
‘That's just the opposite of what many people expected under Obamacare, particularly because one of the goals of health reform was to reduce pressure on emergency rooms by expanding Medicaid and giving poor people better access to primary care.
‘Instead, many hospitals in Kentucky and across the nation are seeing a surge of those newly insured Medicaid patients walking into emergency rooms.’
“One Kentucky doctor described it as a ‘perfect storm.’
“‘We’ve given people an ATM card,’ he said, ‘in a town with no ATMs.’
“Given Obamacare’s most famous broken promise about Americans being able to keep the health plans they liked, it’s easy to see how a person who had access to good insurance and quality care before Obamacare would find himself or herself forced onto Medicaid and into the emergency room today. A recent report found that among certain hospitals in Kentucky, as many as one in five individuals covered by Medicaid had previously had private health insurance.
“So unfortunately, it wasn’t hard to see this coming. Many of us warned about it.
“We warned that providing supposed health coverage, without actually giving someone access to health care, is really just a hollow promise.
“The same could be said of warnings regarding the impact Obamacare’s deep Medicare cuts would have on many of our hospitals.
“I wish the politicians who rammed Obamacare through over the objections of the American people had heeded these warnings.
“So this is just one more reminder why Obamacare is bad for Kentucky, why it’s bad for the Middle Class, and why it’s bad for our country.
“But here’s the good news.
“The new Congress just passed a balanced budget last week with legislative tools that will allow us to begin to address Obamacare’s broken promises.
“I hope President Obama and our colleagues across the aisle will work with us to do so.
“We owe the American people more than Obamacare’s broken promises, we owe them real health reform that lowers costs and increases choice.
“I hope our friends across the aisle will work with us in a bipartisan way to help achieve that outcome.”
Related Issues: Obamacare, Health Care