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hospitals-closing-due-to-obamacareAnd so it goes.  The trickle of hospitals reporting negative consequences from Obamacare is becoming a stream of closed facilities, and all due to increasing reliance on government money to keep their business model afloat.

Obamacare is actually shrinking the availability of healthcare, both in terms of hospitals and available physicians.  Now the statistics are rolling in that prove it.

According to the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program, at least 24 rural hospitals closed in 2013 — twice the closing rate over the previous 20 months — and Modern Healthcare reports at least 14 critical-access hospitals in ten states closed last year.

After Crittenden Regional Hospital closed September 7 in West Memphis, local urgent care clinics stayed open an extra hour or two every day, and patients had to wait several hours to see a doctor.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lee Heib, former president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, says this “gives us some idea of what medicine will be reduced to in the future.”  The most seriously affected hospitals are in poor areas which often serve the greatest number of Medicare and Medicaid patients, Dr. Heib says.

During 2012 and again in 2013, many hospitals lobbied for Medicaid expansion saying that increasing the insured population would somehow keep their cost curve in the black and keep their doors open.  Here in Arkansas, the Legislature in 2012 cited the hospitals’ determination to increase this revenue stream as a key reason for implementing Arkansas’ Private Option.

CFA-PO-EffectMeanwhile, as our Arkansas Legislature examined continued Private Option funding in spring 2013, Conduit for Action sponsored a series of education seminars state-wide.  Currently practicing physicians predicted dire results from making our health care delivery system more dependent on government’s policies and funding.  Now those predictions are coming to pass.

The doctors warned that caring for your health is taking a back seat to burdensome regulations (hiring assistants just to complete all the paperwork, for example), and that low Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement rates are driving doctors away from traditional medical practices — both trends resulting in fewer doctors to care for more patients (insured or not).

Our Arkansas physicians warned us against expanding Medicaid to able-bodied, childless adults at no cost to them (thus increasing our dependency on government health policies and funding) via the Private Option.  Statistics are now showing Obamacare’s long-term negative consequences greatly outweigh any perceived short-term benefits of the program.

As they deliberate that Private Option funding again in 2015, will our newly elected, Republican majority Arkansas Legislature truly dig in and study these statistics — or continue propping up a losing business model for our health care future by continuing to support the Private Option?