Hospitals are subject to an unfunded federal mandate to care for patients presenting to their emergency departments regardless of the ability to pay. This results in a significant financial burden in caring for the poor and uninsured.
Now our state legislature and governor are planning to turn down Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. They object to the bill on political grounds, calling it part of a federal takeover of health care which will not control costs. While that may be true, by refusing to participate in the only part of the bill the U.S. Supreme Court ruled could not be mandated, they are turning down an estimated $11.2 billion between 2014 and 2020. This money was supposed to help support our hospitals in the face of other cuts to their reimbursements under Obamacare. No matching from the state is required for three years and the match is only 10 percent thereafter. Our state lawmakers say it’s not worth our dime to have someone give us a dollar. It is too high a price for the political stand.
As a practicing physician I call on all those who work in health care, regardless of what they may think of our president or his health care plan, to contact their state legislators and ask them to accept the money to expand Medicaid. We need it for our patients, our hospitals, the security of our jobs, and the economic health of our state.