My sister works as an administrator in a hospital in Washington State. We don’t talk all that much but we did over Thanksgiving. I asked her about the impact that ObamaCare has had on her corner of the healthcare industry. Again, this is not a nationwide or global perspective — just her view.
Baby Sister said that in October, they laid off 500 employees essentially because of ObamaCare and the reduced money that the hospital plans to take in. Her hospital is one of those which will accept ObamaCare insurance. Essentially it’s a vast expansion of Medicaid with very low reimbursement schedules that most doctors don’t accept — and neither do most hospitals. She said:
- “We’re working a skeleton crew now, since it’s the only way that we can balance the budget. We’re not the government. We can’t spend money that we aren’t taking in.”
- “Patient care will be as good as it can be when you consider the circumstances.”
- “A lot of doctors who used to send their patients here (to her hospital) aren’t doing it anymore. You know, a lot of doctors* won’t be participating in the Affordable Healthcare Plan. It’s sad to see the best go away and the doctors who are strapped for business and accept the ObamaCare packages, still here.”
I countered that the law hadn’t gone into effect fully — why is she seeing this now?
- “We have to anticipate, and that’s part of the problem. The President (of the USA) is flip-flopping and driving the insurance companies crazy. The law says one thing and that’s bad enough, but he changes the law on a whim about every third day with this or that regulation of legal stipulation being waived or kicked down the road.”
- “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s bizarre 2010 claim that ‘We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it,’ doesn’t even make sense now because we have a 2000 page law that changes based on the President’s take on political polling. We have no idea what new (and strange) changes will come to pass a week from now or a month from now. If we don’t plan for the worst, we could end up in the red and you can’t run a business like that.”
What about the website?
- “The hospital website works and the insurance company’s websites work. It’s just the government website that doesn’t work.”
How affordable is the Affordable Healthcare Act?
- “A survey, which polled more than 3,000 doctors, also found that 80% of physicians say Americans currently insured will have to pay more under ObamaCare while 76% see overall health care costs rising due to the ACA.”
- “I think that overall, it will cause the cost of healthcare to spiral upward for a few years, but in the end, I think that it will be unpopular enough that people will elect Republicans to fill seats formerly held by Democrats and the ACA will be repealed, and costs will settle down as a measure of predictability returns to the insurance market. Unpredictability, which we’re seeing with the President’s way of conducting business, will inevitably cause insurers to pad their numbers and costs will go up as a function of cause and effect.”
- “The Board of Trustees made the decision to accept ACA insurance and they’re very touchy about it. There is an unwritten rule that if you criticize it, you won’t work here long. The mood is very strange for a hospital where we’re usually joking and cynical about everything. Now I know what working in a Soviet Era hospital must have been like.”
My sister has been a Democrat in the past. She said that she’s changed her party affiliation. “You know (she said, as if I didn’t know this) Central government planning has never delivered on its promises and there’s no reason to think it ever will.”
* Fact Check – 44%