Negative Returns

By Richard Nelson

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May 11, 2015

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When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – “Obamacare” – first began to be implented, Kentucky was one of the first states to fully embrace the new health care plan. While the state was hailed at the time for being ahead of the national curve, a look back at the effects of Obamacare so far paints a not-so-positive picture of how it is affecting Kentucky's hospitals. In a report called “Code Blue,” released earlier this month by the Kentucky Hospital Association, the amount of payment cuts to hospitals is expected to reach $7 billion through 2024. The combination of Medicaid reimbursing hospitals less than it costs to treat patients and the high rate of Kentucky citizens who signed up for Obamacare has resulted in hospitals suffering a net loss. In some instances, this has caused hospitals to cut certain services and lay off employees just to survive. While the number of uninsured Kentuckians has shrunk dramatically since the implementation of Obamacare, hospitals can obviously not continue to operate suffering net losses each year. A balance must be achieved between providing Kentuckians with the healthcare they need and making sure there will be medical providers there to provide that healthcare.

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Director, Commonwealth Policy Center