fah hospital policy blog

Perspectives on health policy affecting America’s hospitals and the patients we serve.

ICYMI: Politico Highlights ACA Repeal’s “Doomsday Scenario”

January 09, 2017 | FAH Policy Blog Team

Category: Affordable Care Act, Financing, Media

The possible fallout from repealing the Affordable Care Act without a replacement continues to make headlines inside and outside the Beltway.

On Monday morning, Politico published a story entitled: “Obamacare repeal's doomsday scenario,” which highlights “apocalyptic” impact repeal could have on hospitals and the patients they serve.

As the hospital community continues its efforts to educate policymakers about the importance of ensuring patients have access to care, the impact of ACA repeal—and not restoring the hospital Medicare cuts—is becoming clearer.

The story references the recently released Dobson | DaVanzo study - commissioned by the FAH and AHA - which analyzed the financial impact of repealing the ACA without restoring the hospital Medicare cuts.

The reporters write, “Their doomsday scenario: Millions of people could lose their health care coverage, hospitals could hemorrhage cash and shocks to the $3 trillion-a-year health system could send ripple effects through the entire economy.”

Heidi Gartland, vice president for community affairs and government relations at Cleveland-based University Hospitals Health System, described it this way:

“That transition period is going to be like that slow-moving tsunami that we know is coming, and we can watch it and try to prepare for it — but in the aftermath of the tsunami, there’s devastating loss that we never could have planned for.”

The reporters also refer to recent layoffs at The Advisory Board Company as some of the first casualties of the political uncertainty surrounding the future of the health care industry.

William Conway, CEO of Detroit’s 1,300-physician Henry Ford Medical Group, says, “Everybody is going to continue to belt tighten and take action fearing the worst is going to happen.”

The article goes on to highlight the devastating effects of eliminating individual insurance subsidies or getting rid of the individual mandate – both moves that could devastate hospitals financially.

“Without the ACA’s expanded coverage, the cost of uncompensated care to hospitals, doctors and other health providers would surge — by as much as $1.1 trillion over a decade, according to an Urban Institute study. Providers would bear much of the new burden of caring and paying for the newly uninsured, an obligation they warn could collapse the finances of hospitals serving the nation’s neediest regions.”

Gartland points out that ultimately, and most importantly, it ends up hurting the patient, “Health systems only have a few tools to balance our budgets, and those are things like curtailing services and reducing our workforce. It really is going to have a big impact on access to care, whether you’re insured or uninsured.”

You can read the entire article by clicking here.