Local Healthcare Providers Warn of Impacts to Patient Care for Rural Communities Under GOP Health Ca
July 6, 2017
Medicaid cuts in the Senate Republican health care repeal would put rural hospitals at risk, which could hurt local jobs, property values and even schools. Hospitals and health care officials in rural areas that rely on federal assistance are speaking out against the Senate bill, which is a giant tax cut for the rich that strips quality and affordable coverage away from 22 million Americans and would drastically affect the ability to provide life-saving care to Americans in rural areas across the country.
Boston Globe: In rural Maine, fear of GOP Medicaid cuts runs deep
“Based on median age, the folks of Piscataquis County also are among the oldest in the nation, with many suffering from chronic diseases such as diabetes, mental health issues, and, more recently, struggles with opioid addiction. The county’s snapshot is repeated across the country, where rural health care advocates and hospital administrators say the Senate and House bills designed to replace the Affordable Care Act would deal a devastating blow to a fragile network. It’s a stark political irony for President Trump, who was lifted to the White House by the votes of rural America, part of the America who ‘will be forgotten no longer,’ as Trump vowed in his inaugural address.”
Kansas City Public Radio: Rural Health Care Group In Leawood Says Senate Plan Will Hit Rural Hospitals Hard
“The health care plan unveiled last month by the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate met with fierce opposition from hospital, doctor and patient advocacy groups. Among them was the National Rural Health Association, which is based in Leawood, Kansas, and represents doctors, nurses and hospitals in rural areas nationwide.
“It says the Senate plan would spell trouble for the communities they work in. Brock Slabach, the group’s senior vice president for member services, says the association’s biggest concern is the plan’s cuts to Medicaid, which would add up to nearly $800 billion over the next ten years.”
Daily News-Miner: Alaska hospitals fear impact of Senate health bill
“Medicaid is the state-federal insurance program that provides health care for children, pregnant women, low-income adults, the elderly and people with disabilities. The Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association, which represents most of the state’s hospitals, estimates this population’s health insurance would be eliminated by 2026 if the Senate bill were to pass. In addition, the restructuring of Medicaid and the likely elimination of Medicaid expansion would result in a loss of $2.4 billion in cumulative Medicaid spending by 2026 in Alaska, the group said. Large portions of Medicaid spending also goes toward in-home services, private practices and behavioral health.”
Casper Star Tribune: Rural hospitals warn of effects of Senate health bill
“The heads of several of Wyoming’s rural hospitals warned that the Senate’s health care bill could force them to reduce services, operate on even smaller margins than they currently do and, in the worst-case scenario, close facilities altogether … There are fewer than 30 hospitals in Wyoming, and many, like the memorial hospitals in Douglas and Thermopolis, are the only facility in their county. They form the backbone of health care in a rural state with an aging population, and many of them would be faced with stark choices and starker balance sheets under the Senate’s proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act, officials say.”
Cedar Rapids Gazette: Planned Parenthood closes doors on four Iowa clinics
“All of this means low-income women in the area who are uninsured or on Medicaid now have very few options left. Much of Planned Parenthood Quad Cities clinic staff now will be commuting to work out of Iowa City, and they hope some of their current patients will be able to follow them there. But that hour long drive creates barriers to access — patients will need to take more time off work and have access to transportation. For those who can’t travel to Iowa City, they are likely to find refuge at Community Health Care (CHC).
“‘The thing that is important about Iowa is that it could be a precursor for what’s to come across the entire country if Trumpcare is passed by the Senate,’ said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, in a conference call with reporters before President Donald Trump visited Cedar Rapids June 21. ‘Trumpcare has similar language to the Iowa bill, prohibiting patients who rely on Medicaid — nearly half of the millions who rely on Planned Parenthood — from turning to Planned Parenthood.’”
Forbes: Hospitals Close, 37K Jobs Disappear If Senate Resurrects Trumpcare
“At least 37,000 healthcare and related jobs in rural communities would be lost if Mitch McConnell and the Republican U.S. Senate successfully rolled back the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, a new analysis shows. Several new financial reports on the impact of the Better Care Reconciliation Act that was tabled last week as well as the Republican-led House’s American Health Care Act are bringing bad economic news to rural America.”
NBC News: Health Care in Rural Communities Uncertain as Medicaid Cuts Loom
“Susan Stowers, 63, a nurse at the nursing home, said she would also like to see wider access to coverage. ‘I’m really against anyone cutting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. This isn’t something given to you,’ said Stowers, who backed Trump. ‘You pay into it your whole life. And Medicaid is for the children and the older ones who really need thecare.’ As president, however, Trump has thrown his support behind the House and Senate health care bills that, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, would dramatically cut the government's Medicaid spending and cause millions to lose insurance.”
CNN: Cuts threaten rural hospitals 'hanging on by their fingernails'
“Nationwide, about 80 rural hospitals have closed since 2010, according to the Chartis Center for Rural Health. Another 673 rural hospitals are in danger of shutting their doors. Many providers worry that the newly proposedhealth care legislation — and in particular its proposed cuts to Medicaid — could push a number of hospitals over the edge. ‘These hospitals are hanging on by their fingernails,” said Maggie Elehwany, vice president of government affairs for the National Rural Health Association, a nonprofit health research and advocacy group. “If you leave this legislation as is, it's a death sentence for individuals in rural America.’ Nearly two-thirds of the lowest performing hospitals are in states that didn't expand Medicaid, according to a previous Chartis report. One case-in-point: the state of Georgia, which did not expand Medicaid and where over half of the state's 73 rural hospitals are in danger of closing. Six have closed since 2010… The Senate bill could cut revenues to rural providers by $1.3 billion each year, according to the Chartis Center and its partner iVantage Health Analytics. Roughly 34,000 jobs are also at risk, according to the analysis.”
Politico: How health care bill could hurt a program beloved in Trump country
“One of the unintended effects of the Senate’s Obamacare repeal bill would be to slash money that pays for a project popular among Republicans — using long-distance video hookups called telemedicine to connect sick kids in rural schools to big-city medical experts. In poor and rural areas, many in deep-red Trump Country, the school nurse is not just handing out bandages anymore; she’s become a de facto medical guide, marshaling medical care for poor kids with obesity, asthma and diabetes, while on the lookout for issues like child abuse and teen pregnancy… Telemedicine has become a powerful tool for these nurses, and Republicans like it — Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price calls it an ‘exciting innovation.’ But the 26 percent cut to Medicaid planned by the administration and Congress for the next decade would deplete the funds that dozens of states are drawing on to make public schools a place of healing for schoolkids.”