Hospitals respond to new health care plan - Tucson News Now

Hospitals respond to new health care plan

The American Hospital Association sent a letter of concerns about the new health care plan to the House of Representatives. (Source: KOLD News 13) The American Hospital Association sent a letter of concerns about the new health care plan to the House of Representatives. (Source: KOLD News 13)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

As soon as details of the Republican plan for replacing the Affordable Care Act were released, the American Hospital Association was quick to respond with concerns from its nearly 5,000 hospitals and health systems.

A letter sent to the U.S. House of Representatives dated March 7, cites several issues with the proposed American Health Care Act, including a lack of analysis by the Congressional Budget Office and not maintaining coverage for current patients.

Part of the letter reads:

"We recognize this measure represents the first step in a process. It is critical that this process be thoughtful and focused on finding ways to improve our health care system, particularly for the poor, elderly and disabled."

The full letter can be read HERE.

Julia Strange, Vice President of Community Benefit, said Wednesday that TMC's debt from uninsured patients has dropped from approximately $25 million in 2013 to roughly $8 million in the last year.

She said that difference comes from a trade-off in the Affordable Care Act that has hospitals lowering rates for certain services because of all the newly insured patients. Strange said hospitals like TMC are hopeful that the money stream from the feds will continue in order to keep providing the same services at the same price.

TMC appreciates that elected leaders in Washington have listened to the concerns of the health care industry, according to Strange. She said they look forward to working together on the plan, but there are still patients who worry about the future of their insurance.

"Rather than focus on getting well, they have to focus on how they're going to pay for it," she said. "And yes, every individual has accountability in terms of their own health and their financial viability but we also need to do the right thing."

Jaclyn Larson hopes that doing the right thing won't affect her family's coverage through AHCCCS. 

Her son, Aidan, suffered severe Traumatic Brain Injury in a car crash nearly six years ago. Through their AHCCCS insurance, Larson can balance up to a dozen different doctors and specialists for her son's recovery.

She worries that block grants or some other plan for federal funding to the state could shake up what she and Aidan have come to rely on.

"It's still scary to know that everything is unsure," she said.

Her family helps with Aidan so that Larson can attend school. She'll transfer from Pima Community College to the University of Arizona in the fall.

"I hope one day that after I get my degree I can afford health insurance for my son, so that we don't have to keep depending on state Medicaid for our benefits," said Larson. "But it has been a huge help to rely on state Medicaid for the time being so that I don't have to work a dead-end job for the rest of our lives."

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