Wednesday, January 23, 2013

"Dr. Phil" Strikes Again: Gov. Bryant on the state of American healthcare

I mean, Lord.  I'll let our illustrious Gov. Phil Bryant (R) explain himself on why we don't need healthcare reform:
There is no one who doesn't have health care in America. No one. Now, they may end up going to the emergency room. There are better ways to deal with people that need health care than this massive new program.
That's from an interview with Kaiser Health News released today.  Jeffrey Young, Huffington Post Health Care reporter, immediately jumped on it and put together a wonderful piece.  In it, Young goes squarely after the idea that "Dr." Phil Bryant put forward:
In 2011, 48.6 million Americans had no health insurance, according to the most recent census data. Among those who do have coverage, many still can't afford medical care so they skip it. The truth is, there's a health care access problem and it's been getting worse. And Mississippi has the fifth-highest rate of uninsured residents in the nation: 19 percent.
That's all fine and good if you're a bleedin' heart lib-ruhl and everything, but what about the good ol' rock-ribbed conservative "screw the poors" side of this deal?
Funneling uninsured, "underinsured," and poor people to emergency rooms isn't great for the hospitals, either. Hospitals absorbed $41.1 billion in unpaid bills (known in the business as "uncompensated care") in 2011, according to a report issued by the American Hospital Association this month.
In fact, the Mississippi Hospital Association has come out in favor of Medicaid expansion to help cover the cost of uncompensated care:
The predicament is about to get worse for hospitals in states that don't expand Medicaid under Obamacare. Medicare and Medicaid currently provide extra money to facilities that treat a disproportionate share of patients who can't pay their bills. The health care law makes significant cuts to those funding streams -- because more people are supposed to get private health insurance or Medicaid starting next year. Based on this calculation, the American Hospital Association and other national industry lobbying groups endorsed the health care overhaul
The hospitals in Bryant's home state see things the same way: The Mississippi Hospital Association backs the Medicaid expansion. Not broadening Medicaid would "be devastating," the association said in a statement last June. "Hospitals cannot be expected to treat such a large volume of people with no expectation or prospect of payment for those services. The result could very well mean the closure of many of our community hospitals."
But yeah, don't worry about the closing hospitals.  Ashley Furniture just added 60 jobs in Verona, don't you know!  Those doctors can just go work there.

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