EDITORIAL: Obamacare's Medicare Cuts Threaten West Virginia Hospitals

HNN Staff
EDITORIAL:  Obamacare's Medicare Cuts Threaten West Virginia Hospitals

We salute the Charleston Area Medical Center, whose leaders have recently spoken about a hard truth that many hospitals across the state are feeling about now. 

As reported in a recent story by Charleston Daily Mail reporter, Zach Harold ("CAMC says losses on Medicare "unsustainable," 2/23/12), CAMC realized that approximately $80 million in Medicare cuts were to be absorbed by the hospital through the end of this decade.

However, the Kanawha County hospital was not at all prepared for what showed up in President Obama's latest budget recently. The new Obama budget calls for an additional $300 billion in Medicare cuts.  That's in addition to the $150 billion the American Hospital Association agreed to in order to go along with the Obamacare bill.

CAMC Chief Financial Officer Larry Hudson fears that, if Obama's budget goes through, an additional $96 million in Medicare will have to be cut at CAMC between now and 2020. That's twice the original amount he had to eliminate from his hospital's budget.

David Ramsey, CAMC's president and chief operating officer, said that, longterm, the Medicare cuts are unsustainable.  Ramsey says that hospitals can't offer the same services to Medicare patients for a fraction of the actual costs of the services to the hospital.

"It's unsustainable, at the level of services provided today," Ramsey said. "Continuing to say, 'Do more with less' is not a plan. They're not improving the health care process in any way....We don't want to reduce services. Nobody wants that. But the reality is, that's what's happening."

The rubber is beginning to hit the road now when it comes to the effects of President Obama's government-run health care system.  The care isn't going to be there at our state's hospitals, particularly for seniors and others on fixed incomes if Medicare isn't restored and Obamacare rejected. 

Without question, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin will be telling us soon that he, too, opposes such Medicare cuts.  But hold on, Senator.  Didn't you vote for this mess called Obamacare as one of your very first votes upon coming into office?  And didn't you go all over the country telling the national media as a prominent Democratic Governor that we needed to pass Obamacare--right when the President needed your hope the most as the bill made its final push through Congress. 

Why yes, Senator Manchin.  You did all of that.  Now maybe you can explain all of this to the hospitals like CAMC.  While you're at it, give the same explanation to other big hospitals like our own Cabell-Huntington and St. Mary's hospitals, Ruby Memorial and Mon General in Morgantown, or smaller but equally vital hospitals like Davis Memorial in Elkins.

Tell us all again, Senator, how excellent the care will be under your beloved Obamacare. And be sure to tell the seniors, whose reliance on Medicare is oftentimes total.

When a man puts his party's leader ahead of his own state's constituents, it's time for those same constituents to ask themselves whose side he's on.

Especially in a re-election year.




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