With the U.S. House of Representatives passing the American Health Care Act, or AHCA, in May, some might be wondering how it affects local hospitals.
Passavant Area Hospital President and CEO Harry Schmidt joined the WLDS “What’s On Your Mind?” program to talk about the legislation, along with some other topics. Schmidt says from the local hospital’s perspective, Passavant does not support the AHCA for a number of reasons.
“Nearly seventy percent of our patients are provided care under either Medicare or Medicaid. So we’ve got about nineteen percent of the business that comes in the door is funded through Medicaid, which is the state-funded program for the under served population, and then the remainder is Medicare. Typically on those two programs the hospital doesn’t even break even. We’re looking at other services to basically prop up those two social programs.”
Schmidt explains one of the biggest factors of the AHCA, and how it affects Passavant.
“The first big piece of it is it repeals the Medicaid expansion dollars. That was some of the funding mechanism that was being used to provide additional care to people in that under served population. When that bill was passed, there was an additional one-million people in Illinois that were picking up healthcare coverage through Medicaid that did not have it in the past. The challenge then is if you repeal the funding for that, how are we going to pick that up? Is that going to rely with the state? It provides some real challenges for that population that desperately needs healthcare services.”
Another reason for Passavant’s stance on the AHCA is Illinois’ commitment to Medicaid, which Schmidt says is ranked 50th out of the 50 states in terms of support to Medicaid funding.