Republicans have been focused in these early days of the Trump administration on that big campaign promise to “repeal and replace Obamacare.” And so now Republicans, unwilling to admit the promise was harder to keep than they figured — and that the Affordable Care Act was working better than they wanted it to in terms of helping the uninsured — have their plan.
It’s a mish-mash of tax credits and a rollback of Medicaid expansion that could increase the number of people without health insurance by 24 million in the plan’s first 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. But GOP leaders are mainly interested in getting that “repeal and replace” step done without looking at the consequences.
A hospital system in Denver does have to worry, and offered a window into what other hospital systems around the country are going to face if that Medicaid rollback goes through. Colorado expanded Medicaid, so the system hired people and built a facility for primary care. That Medicaid expansion helped emergency room admissions stay flat instead of increasing with more uninsured people. Those who had been insured under the ACA were able to get primary care at community health centers.
So what happens without Medicaid expansion? More emergency room visits; more patients without an ability to pay anything; financial losses for hospital systems.
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This one example will be repeated around the country, unless Republicans back away from a foolish campaign slogan and fine-tune and improve what’s already in place. They would do so if only they listened to the medical community — instead of the political one.