The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

August 16, 2013

EDITORIALS: Bad medicine for hospitals; An exotic place to die

This will sting: Obamacare pinches hospitals

(The Dalton, Ga., Daily Citizen)

Hospitals across the country could find themselves in a financial squeeze next year thanks to federal health care reform.

The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, is cutting hospitals' reimbursements from Medicare - the federal program that provides health care to the elderly - by $155 billion. When the law was passed, hospital officials agreed to the cut believing that patients covered by the new law who previously had been uninsured would more than make up the difference.

But hospital officials are growing increasingly worried as it becomes apparent the law will not expand health care to as many people as they had hoped.

The law required states to expand Medicaid - the federal and state program that provides health coverage to those with low incomes - to individuals earning up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level. That alone was expected to provide coverage to 17 million Americans who didn’t have coverage.

But last year the U.S. Supreme Court, while upholding most of Obamacare, also said Congress could not require states to expand Medicaid. Now roughly half the states, including Georgia, do not plan to expand Medicaid coverage, with leaders in most citing concerns about long-term costs.

Obamacare also set up exchanges for those who don’t have coverage through work or government programs to buy insurance. To encourage people to use the exchanges, the law created carrots - subsidies for those under certain income levels - as well as sticks - a $95 fine on tax refunds for not having coverage.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that next year 6 million uninsured people will chance a fine on their tax refunds rather than buy health coverage.

So as hospitals face the certainty of lower Medicare reimbursements and more regulation, it’s looking less likely that the number of uninsured patients they treat will change. That has the potential to hit them hard.

Text Only
Opinion & Letters to the Editor
  • taylor.armerding.jpg Obama's equal pay exaggeration leads us all into danger

    The president's claims of national shame over gender-based pay inequity spring from distorted calculations, as well as some convenient political math.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Teens trading naked selfies for mugshots

    Will teenagers ever learn? You think yours will. Maybe so. But it's likely that was also the hope of the parents of children who were so shamed by nude photos of themselves that went south - how else can they go - that they killed themselves.

    April 12, 2014

  • Brent Laurenz If you want to vote in primary, you need to register to vote now

    RALEIGH – North Carolina voters will head to the polls on May 6 this year to cast ballots in important primary elections across the state.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Scott Mooneyham Heeding the voter fraud call in N.C.

    RALEIGH – Legislators found the findings outrageous.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Doug Creamer Roots

    I took a few minutes over the weekend to enjoy our yard and the arrival of spring. There seems to be so much work that needs to be done, it is hard to decide what to do first. I am excited that I got to run my tiller through the garden. I didn’t go very deep, but I did at least break up the soil. I have a couple of raised beds and the soil in them was in very good shape. I didn’t plant my peas and now after the big rain we got on Monday I realize that I missed a window of opportunity.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • 10 tips for surviving a severe allergy season

    My colleague Brady Dennis reported recently that the arrival of warmer weather will soon unleash a pollen tsunami in parts of the country where the winter has been especially long and cold. Here are some survival tips from Clifford W. Bassett, an allergy specialist and assistant clinical professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine.

    April 11, 2014

  • Is a paleo vegetarian diet possible?

    Research shows most people can follow a regimented eating plan for a short time. That's not the challenge. The challenge is finding a healthful eating plan you can follow day after day and achieve your long-term health goals. At this point, it doesn't appear that the paleo eating plan meets these objectives for most people.

    April 10, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 2.16.35 PM.png Are Americans smart to stop drinking diet sodas?

    Recent data from Beverage Digest suggest many are cutting back on diet sodas. Consumption of diet sodas fell more than that of sugary sodas in 2013. This raises two questions: Why is total consumption declining, and is drinking diet soda harmful to health?

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • To get quality care, it helps to be the right kind of patient

    I am a family physician. Sometimes I must step out of the comfort of my clinical role and into that of patient or family caregiver. Generally, these trips to the other side of the exam table inspire a fair amount of anxiety.

    April 10, 2014

  • Hospice of Stanly County should be the one we support

    Regarding your recent article about Community Hospice relocating its offices from one location in Troy to another, let me point out a few things.

    April 10, 2014

House Ads
Seasonal Content