American Health Care Act could devastate health care system, panelists say

NursingPhoto.jpgTucson Medical Center  – as well as other hospitals and health institutions across the country – will be under threat if 23 million people lose their insurance in the coming decade under the American Health Care Act.

That was the consensus of panelists at the Mayor’s Health Forum Tuesday, part of a series of forums taking place this week in cities across the state, from Phoenix to Flagstaff and Sedona.  The forum, held at the Pima County Housing Center, was organized by Planned Parenthood.

“Having access to health care means having access to affordable health care,” said Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, who served on the panel, which also included patients. “If you can’t afford it, you can’t access it.”

With uninsured rates are at historic lows, Rothschild said he had to change his general stance of staying out of federal policy. “Being mayor gives me plenty of do here locally, but this affects all of us – at the state and at the city level,” he said. “And if bad results occur and it is left to the cities to deal with it, we likely will not have the resources necessary to address it. So to me, this is personal.”

Julia Strange, the vice president of community benefit for TMC, said as the largest hospital in the city, TMC injects $740 million in economic impact into the region, supports nearly 6,000 jobs, cares for about 100,000 people a year in its emergency room, and reinvests millions back into the community in terms of education, outreach, charity care and other benefits.

“I tell you all of this because TMC will not be the same if the AHCA happens,” she cautioned.

After the Affordable Care Act brought coverage to 400,000 Arizonans, TMC’s charity care and bad debt plummeted from $25.8 million to $8 million. Unraveling that would undermine the viability of hospitals, which would ultimately impact everyone – from the vulnerable to the wealthy.

“Even if you have insurance from your employer or are extraordinarily wealthy, coming to the hospital is the great leveler,” Strange said. “In our country, we don’t have a healthcare system for the rich and a healthcare system for the poor: It is for the community as a whole, and we need to invest in it to make sure the services we need are available when we need them,” Strange said, adding it is a moral imperative to protect the most vulnerable.

Panelists urged attendees to share with their Senators, who are largely back in their districts, the need to reset the discussion to protect their constituents.

 

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Way too biased

  2. Anonymous says:

    How can you believe that our government body would eliminate needed healthcare for so many – bias is understating – why do you think its stalled in the Senate – come on people.

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Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Rd. | Tucson, AZ 85712 | (520) 327-5461
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