Local hospital following developments on Healthcare bill

Local hospital following developments on Healthcare bill

ODESSA, TX (KWES) - The U.S. Senate is scrambling to come up with another version of the healthcare bill before July 4 recess and a local hospital is following along all the latest developments. The hospital says depending on what happens with the bill, state funding likely will change.

"No matter what happens, no matter what plan comes out, somebody is going to pay for healthcare," said Medical Center Health Chief Strategy Officer, John O'Hearn.

The fight to replace Obamacare continues.

O'Hearn says replacing the healthcare system is a very daunting and complicated task.

"There's no easy way to do it. Both have their idea of exactly how they want to fix it, but neither side, I think, really has a full grasp of the full depth of the problem,"

O'Hearn was following along as Obamacare was passed. He said since Medicaid wasn't expanded in Texas, the big thing that changed for the hospital was some cuts in Medicare rates. He says the new act shouldn't make much of a difference.

"For Texas, since we didn't expand Medicaid again, our rules are kind of staying the same. There shouldn't be a ton of impact, but if they do tighten regulations, if they give more state programs that we rely on, that are given outside of traditional medicaid, if those get rolled back, that's really what we are keeping our eye on right now," said O'Hearn.
Keeping an eye on the 1115 waiver, which allows the state to expand Medicaid managed care while preserving hospital funding. It also directs more funding to hospitals that serve large numbers of uninsured patients. O'Hearn says whatever happens in the Senate will likely impact that state program.

"That's immediate. That's been a huge boom to this hospital, to this community," said Hearn. "A lot of the programs that you've kind of seen come online due to the 1115 waiver. We have new clinics because of it. We have new providers because of it."
Cuts to the 1115 waiver would be the biggest blow to Texas hospitals, especially safety nets like MCH.

For now, O'Hearn says there is no way to tell what and who all will be affected.

"We do get questions about what's going to happen with it. Until it's approved and we see the final legislation with exactly all the tidbits in it, we don't really know what it looks like. We can get an outline, but until we dive in and see the fine print, it's hard to really get a sense of what it's going to do," said O'Hearn.

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