McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Obituaries

August 28, 2013

EDITORIALS: Bad medicine for hospitals; An exotic place to die

This will sting: Obamacare pinches hospitals

(The Dalton, Ga., Daily Citizen)

Hospitals across the country could find themselves in a financial squeeze next year thanks to federal health care reform.

The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, is cutting hospitals' reimbursements from Medicare - the federal program that provides health care to the elderly - by $155 billion. When the law was passed, hospital officials agreed to the cut believing that patients covered by the new law who previously had been uninsured would more than make up the difference.

But hospital officials are growing increasingly worried as it becomes apparent the law will not expand health care to as many people as they had hoped.

The law required states to expand Medicaid - the federal and state program that provides health coverage to those with low incomes - to individuals earning up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level. That alone was expected to provide coverage to 17 million Americans who didn’t have coverage.

But last year the U.S. Supreme Court, while upholding most of Obamacare, also said Congress could not require states to expand Medicaid. Now roughly half the states, including Georgia, do not plan to expand Medicaid coverage, with leaders in most citing concerns about long-term costs.

Obamacare also set up exchanges for those who don’t have coverage through work or government programs to buy insurance. To encourage people to use the exchanges, the law created carrots - subsidies for those under certain income levels - as well as sticks - a $95 fine on tax refunds for not having coverage.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that next year 6 million uninsured people will chance a fine on their tax refunds rather than buy health coverage.

So as hospitals face the certainty of lower Medicare reimbursements and more regulation, it’s looking less likely that the number of uninsured patients they treat will change. That has the potential to hit them hard.

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Obituaries
  • Alyce Yvonne Knight Lerblance

    Alyce Yvonne Knight Lerblance was born on November 21, 1923, in Pittsburg, Oklahoma, to Fred C. and Letha Mae Knight.  She was the fourth of seven children born to Fred and Letha Knight.  Alyce grew up in Wilburton and graduated with the class of 1941 and was a graduate of Eastern State A & M in Wilburton.

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  • Lynn E. 'Cheatum' Weeks

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    July 23, 2014

  • Charles Edward Turney,

    Charles Edward Turney, 81, of Duncan, died Saturday, July 19, 2014, after a brief illness.

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  • Tommy Morrow

    Tommy Morrow, 66, of Hartshorne, died Tuesday, July 22, 2014, at McAlester Regional Health Center.

    July 23, 2014

  • Otis Jefferson

    Otis Jefferson, 84, of McAlester, died Sunday, July 20, 2014, at his home.

    July 23, 2014

  • David Wayne Dollins,

    David Wayne Dollins, 79, of McAlester, died Tuesday, July 22, 2014, at his home.

    July 23, 2014

  • Brigitta Agnes Campbell

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  • Doris J. Bolding

    Doris J. Bolding, 78, of McAlester, died Monday, July 21, 2014, at a local nursing center.

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  • Bette Jo Williams

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  • Lynn 'Gene' Eugene Wilkerson

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