“Incredibly disappointed.” That is how Ridgecrest Regional Hospital CEO Jim Suver described himself after hearing the House of Representatives passed the latest version of the American Health Care Act Thursday.
The bill, intended to replace the Affordable Care Act colloquially known as Obamacare passed the house yesterday with a narrow vote of 217 to 213. Like its predecessor, which failed to garner the votes necessary to pass the house, the latest version of the plan is unpopular and has been denounced by doctors' groups and medical and healthcare organizations across the country.
“Like most providers including hospitals and physicians we are incredibly disappointed” with the current version of the bill, Suver told the Daily Independent Friday. “It could potentially put the hospital in jeopardy and result in the loss of insurance for senior americans as well as low income residents.”
The bill heads next to the Senate. Suver said he hopes senators will take the time to improve and refine the bill. “We are cautiously optimistic that the Senate bill will have more thought placed into it,” he said.
He added that the version of the bill that passed the house would have benefited from more consideration. “I think its just one of the things, a little bit more time of developing the plan would have been helpful and ease concerns that are adding stress to seniors and other people,” he said.
Suver has previously noted that Obamacare needs changes to make it sustainable.
“The ACA needed to have changes to made to it,” he said Friday. “But this is certainly not the way to go. I am hoping the Senate will spend a little more time on deliberations.”
Suver said the latest version of the plan, as written, has areas that are unclear.
The policies on pre-existing conditions needs to be refined, he said. He added that the requirement for a special pool to fund pre-existing condition coverage could take money out of other areas of the state budget.
On a positive note, RRH benefits from a program that trains rural doctors and “I do not believe that will be impacted,” he said.
The Rural Health Clinic, on the other hand, could potentially be affected. “As more people are kicked out of the Medicaid program, we would have less patients,” he said.