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August 29, 2013     Bath County News - Outlook
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News Outlook Your Hometown Newspaper August 29, 2013 - 21 Senator McConnell holds hospital town hall meeting; remains critical of 0bamaCare By Eric Tolson KyNewsGroup eric@kynewsgroup.com Neighboring Nicholas County Hospital received a very auspidous visit from Senator Mitch McConnell last Wednesday afternoon as part of McConnelrs recent influx of town hall hospital meetings. The meeting was held in order to discuss the impact of the Affordable Health Care Act (AHCA), more common- ly known as ObamaCare, on Kentucky and espedally rural hospitals and communities. After an introduction from Nicholas County Hospital President Benny Nolan, Me- Connell began by welcoming everyone present. "I really appreciate this op- portunity," McConnell stated. 'This is the 49th in what could best be described as hospital town hall meetings. I started these about two years ago." McConnell said that, over the past two years, he has tried to get a handle on the impact of ObamaCare on healthcare delivery all across Kentucky. "From the leadership, there a number of challeng- ing features of ObamaCare in terms of rural hospitals and other small hospitals across the state," he continued. "Kentucky is still one of the states that's about 50,6 small town/rural. We're not as ur- ban as a lot of other states and so when these changes come in, they have a particularly ad- verse effect on all of us." Regarding the AHCA, Mc- Connell explained that his main problem is that its ap- proach to health care was like "taking a meat axe to the problem instead of a scalpel." 'Tne problem was that there are currently about 40 million Americans that are uninsured, and we can all agree that it's better to have insurance than not," he stat- ed. "As we all know, the fed- eml government had health care already, we had Medi- care and Medicaid, which is a shared responsibility with the states. That particular part of our country's health care was already in a particularly ch lenging situation. The trust- ees, for example, of Medicare and Social Security appointed by President Obama have said that, before ObamaCare, that Medicare had about 10 years to go." McConneU continued, stat- ing that there was a choice be- fore the debate of healthcare to use the "scalpel" approach by targeting the problems of the uninsured. "I can think of two good ex- amples that would have had a positive impact on this situa- tion," McConnell explained. "One of these is federal medi- cal malpractice reform. Un- necessary tests are done in this and many hospitals in or- der to protect doctors against this type of litigation. "And the second thing is that we need to have a com- petitive model for health insurance," he continued. "Right now, health insurance is sold in 50 separate silos in each state. What we should have is a national health in- surance market that pits all of the companies against each other. I guarantee that this would work. We have an example of this in Medicare part D, which is a prescrip- tion medication program that's a part of Medicare. Pitting health insurance com- panies together keeps prices down and increases quality." McConnell continued to state that Medicare part D is the only federal program in recent memory that has come in under estimate. "No other federal program ever comes in under esti- mate," he stated. "I rite this as a competitive model that can work in terms of healthcare delivery. This is what I think should've been done. Instead, what the Obama administra- tion has decided to do was that, in order to provide subsi- dy for those who are current- ly uninsured who couldn't afford health insurance, they cut $750 billion over ten years out of Medicare. They raised taxes on medical devices and put a tax increase on health insurance premiums which takes effect beginning next year." McConnell summed this up by stating that the gov- erument raided Medicare, a program to primarily benefit the elderly, in order subsidize health insurance for every- one else. 'They used Medicare as a bank, out of which they took funds to try to underwrite an entirely different area," McConnell continued. 'This put additional pressure on categories like disproportion- ate share, critical access and all health care providers like hospitals, nursing homes and hospice providers. It's wreak- ing havoc on pretty much every hospital across the country. 'The second problem is drastically affecting people in the private sector. If you employ more than 50 people, then you have to provide health insurance for then What we've seen is a trend of employers reducing the amount of full4ime employ- ees to get below the 50-per- son threshold in order to pre- vent the mandate. But if the employers still wish to con- tinue providing insurance for their employees, then they are being hit with spiking pre- minms." "Even Mends of the Obama administration are having se- rious second thoughts about whether or not this was a good idea for the dtizens of this country," McConnell explained. 'The president himself has decided to delay for a year the employer man- date, having some question about whether or not he has the legal authority to do that. There seems to be some bi- partisanship developing re- lating to ObamaCare. Unlike Medicare and Social Security, it was passed on a strictly par- tisan. We voted against it, not because we didn't like the president, but because we felt it was a terrible idea. "Bipartisan objections to it seem to be developing in the House of Representa- tives. Thirty-five Democrats voted for the one-year delay of the employer mandate and 22 Democrats voted for the delay on the individual mandate. We had a vote on the medical device tax and 79 out of 100 senators voted to repeal the medical device tax. I think that there is grow- ing bipartisan opposition to this bill. I don't believe that it could possaly succeed." McConnell stated that ObamaCare, as a whole was somewhat unconstitutional, stating that no one knows whafs in it. "Not only were there 2,700 pages to the bill itself, there were more than 20,000 noPes of regulations and ody knows whafs in it; not even the people opting for ObamaCare," McCon- nell explained. "I think that passing ObamaCare would be a huge mistake for this country and it would be one of the biggest steps we could take in becoming a western European country. We don't need government-controlled healthcare in any aspect. It leads to rationing and delays. "I don't think that it's too late to stop this," he con- tinued. 'TVhen Democrats continue stepping forward hearing pressure from their constituents, there's a chance to slow this down and ulti- mately to move it in a differ- ent direction." Supporters of AHCA say . McConnell does not have his facts straight. And that: AHC/s goal is to pro- vide affordable health insur- ance for all US citizens and to reduce the growth in health care spending. AHCA does not replace pr ,---e.e, Medicare, or Medicaid. The Fact is AHCA gives 47 million women access to preventive health services and makes it illegal to charge women different rates than men. Get more AHCA gives seniors ac- cess to cheaper drugs, free preventive care, reforms Medicare Advantage, and closes the Medicare Part D 'donut hole. The AARP agrees, costs won't rise be- cause of AHCA, if anything, the improvements to the system will decrease the av- erage cost of health care for seniors. 1 in 2 Americans has a "pre-existing" condition they could be denied health insur- ance for. AHCA chips Away at pre-existing conditions until 2017 when there are no more pre-existing conditions for anyone, including high- risk customers. 54 million Americans with private health insurance now have access to preven- tive services with no cost sharing due to the new mini- mum standards of AHC& AHCA doesn't ration health care; it protects con- sumers from the health care panies have been doing for ratio.ning insurance com- ages. When an apple a day isn't enough, call the Physician Referral Line Matching you to the right physician at the right time is our specialty. Call today- is freel SCOUNT ] elry & Pawn Loans CASH on ANYTHING of Value! DJP loans cash on LARGE ITEMS our competitors can't handle! 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