KNPR

Health Care Overhaul Has Some Nevada Health Professionals Spooked

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Bill Hughes/Desert Companion

The Congressional Budget Office came out with an Affordable Care Act repeal analysis last week. If House Speaker Paul Ryan’s plan is passed, 24 million people will lose their health insurance over the next 10 years.

The Trump Administration condemned the CBO’s numbers.

Then, a couple of days later, the Office of Management and Budget – which is run by Trump’s White House – came back with its own numbers. They say 26 million people will lose insurance under the Ryan plan – which some are calling Trumpcare.

What does this mean for people in Nevada?

One of the biggest concerns for health care professionals in Nevada is the proposal to end the business and individual mandate. Under the mandate in the ACA, people must by health insurance or risk a tax penalty.

Professor Chris Cochran, the chair of the Department of Health Care Administration and Policy in UNLV's School of Community Health Sciences, explained to KNPR's State of Nevada that without the mandate to buy insurance younger, healthier people won't get insurance reducing the insurance pool, leaving older and sicker people paying higher prices for care. 

Support comes from

CEO of University Medical Center Mason Van Houweling told KNPR that without a mandate the number of insured will most likely fall, leaving the hospital to pay for more indigent patients, like it did before the Affordable Care Act went into effect.

“Lifting the mandates and going to tax credits, there is still an opportunity for patients not to have insurance and that would certainly be a step back for our state,” Van Houweling said.

Before ACA, the rate of insured patients at UMC was about 65 percent insured to 35 percent uninsured. Now, Van Howeling said the spilt is closer to 90 percent insured and 10 percent not.

Since UMC is a public hospital, it cannot turn away patients for their inability to pay, which means if the number of uninsured rises again taxpayers in Southern Nevada will start paying into a program to keep the hospital a float - again. 

“We potentially may have to bring back that program to support providers in our community to provide the insurance and access for health care,” Van Houweling said.

Congresswoman Jacky Rosen (D) -NV, said her office has received several calls, emails and letters from constituents worried about what will happen to their health care under the proposed plan. 

She believes it is better to make changes to ACA rather than scraping the whole program.

“What everyone wants us to do is to take the plan that we have now, which is the Affordable Care Act, strengthen what is working right and to look at what’s not working and to find ways to correct those and make them work better for people who are suffering,” she said. 

FROM NPR: New Health Care Bill: Where Your Member of Congress Stands

Guests

Mason Van Houweling, CEO, University Medical Center.; Professor Chris Cochran, chair, Department of Health Care Administration and Policy in UNLV's School of Community Health Sciences; Congresswoman Jacky Rosen, (D) - NV Dist. 3

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