Coronavirus Exposes Obamacare Failures – By David Catron (American Spectator) / March 23 2020
Ten years of “reform” has decimated our rural health care safety net
On March 23, 2010, then-President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law. It has long since become obvious to all but a few diehard apologists that Obamacare, as it is more commonly known, achieved few of its ostensible goals. It not only failed to reduce national expenditures for medical care, but it actually increased the cost of health insurance and out-of-pocket expenses for the average patient. Moreover, it left nearly 30 million Americans uninsured at the end of Obama’s second term. More to the point, it reduced the nation’s overall capacity to manage a large-scale medical crisis by decimating our rural health-care safety net.
Virtually all of the 120 hospitals shuttered since 2010 were critical care and acute care facilities located in rural areas, where they provided the only realistic source of emergency or intensive care for patients living outside of large metropolitan centers. According to a study performed by the Chartis Center for Rural Health and iVantage Health Analytics, an additional 453 facilities — 25 percent of the nation’s remaining 1,823 rural hospitals — can be considered vulnerable to closure. This finding is based on a broad range of metrics they have in common with the 120 facilities that have already been forced to close, including precipitous financial declines during the 12-month period immediately prior to shutting down:
Informed by the findings of this analysis, our regression model assessed the impact of 16 variables of which nine were shown to be statistically significant. The model identified 453 open rural facilities which can be considered ‘vulnerable’ to closure based on performance levels. Within this group, two distinct cohorts emerged; a group of 216 which can be considered “most vulnerable” and a second group of 237 which are defined as “at risk.”
The few legacy media outlets that have bothered to cover this ongoing disaster have blamed it on the states that declined to expand Medicaid under the auspices of Obamacare, but that claim fails to explain closures in expansion states like Arizona, Arkansas, California, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, New York, and more. The actual cause of these closures involves a bait-and-switch perpetrated on the hospital industry by the Obama administration. In 2009, the industry agreed to support “reform” by accepting $155 billion in Medicaid and Medicare cuts in exchange for the promise that it would flood hospitals with newly insured patients whose coverage would offset the concession.
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