Obamacare continues to hammer our national economy and specifically seems to be bad news for the poor. The New York Times has just published an article that describes how hospitals are beginning to cut charity programs in an effort to force the uninsured to sign up for Obamacare. However, many advocates for the poor and uninsured say that even under Obamacare many still cannot afford healthcare. So the people who will be most hurt by these new hospital policies are the poor.
Even worse, hospitals that care for large numbers of poor or uninsured will actually see federal aid to their facilities CUT by Obamacare. Makes sense, right? If your hospital treats more poor people who can’t afford healthcare… the government gives you less money. That seems awfully “charitable” of the liberal Democrats who pretend to love poor people.
Hospital systems around the country have started scaling back financial assistance for lower- and middle-income people without health insurance, hoping to push them into signing up for coverage through the new online marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act.
The trend is troubling to advocates for the uninsured, who say raising fees will inevitably cause some to skip care rather than buy insurance that they consider unaffordable. Though the number of hospitals tightening access to free or discounted care appears limited so far, many say they are considering doing so, and experts predict that stricter policies will become increasingly common.
Driving the new policies is the cost of charity care, which is partly covered by government but remains a burden for many hospitals. The new law also reduces federal aid to hospitals that treat large numbers of poor and uninsured people, creating an additional pressure on some to restrict charity care.
The hard truth of the matter is that Obamacare will not lead to less uninsured Americans. Some studies suggest that a full half of the uninsured before Obamacare were uninsured by choice, not economics. While Obamacare may help many Americans, it will prove to be a net negative for most. Taxes have risen, premiums have gone up, healthcare costs are still rising… the real answer to our healthcare crisis for the poor is exactly what Obamacare is killing. More charity.
Instead of Obamacare, the government should have removed fetters that keep us from shopping for insurance across state lines. This would allow us more choice and force insurers to be more proactive in keeping their customers. That means better customer care and less red tape when it comes to having claims filed and approved. It also means that costs for care would necessarily drop, because insurance companies would be forced to better compensate care providers or – again — risk losing their clients. Who wants to worry about insurance payouts when you’re lying in a hospital bed… you will choose the company that will cause the least stress possible during times of health problems.
The shorter way of saying this is that the free market works, and it could work in healthcare if we ever gave it a chance.
How would all of this help the poor?
Well, hospitals wouldn’t be cutting charity, for one thing. For another, our nation, and most of our states too, have subsidized health insurance options like Medicare and Medicaid. Both programs have taken huge hits to their budgets because of Obamacare; ridding ourselves of Obamacare would allow us to return funding to those programs.
Obamacare is killing our economy – but worse yet, it’s killing our most vulnerable… all while pretending it’s there to help.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com