Local hospital official weighs in on healthcare debate

Local hospital official weighs in on healthcare debate

MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - Questions still remain as the U.S. Senate continues their work on replacing Obamacare. On Wednesday, lawmakers rejected the appeal. Now, local hospital officials are watching and waiting to find out what's next.

"We just got out of our legislative session with the latest updates from Washington," said John O'Hearn, Vice-President and Chief Strategy Officer at Medical Center Hospital.

O'Hearn is currently in California at the American Hospital Association Leadership Forum. The association is following the developments in Washington closely.

"The skinny repeal, what it would essentially do, would be to remove the individual and employer mandate," said O'Hearn.

Mandates that the Senate want to get rid of include requiring nearly all Americans to get health insurance or pay a penalty and the requirement of companies to provide affordable coverage to full-time workers.
O'Hearn believes this latest development won't affect too many patients or hospitals in the area.

"We haven't seen, at least what we track, a ton of exchange plans. What they repeal today wouldn't have a tremendous impact on at least Ector County, but there are states that had massive efforts, they did a state exchange, they had a ton of people enrolled and all of a sudden that's gone. You are talking about pretty substantial hits," said O'Hearn.

O'Hearn says this is a complicated problem and right now, all they can do is wait. He believes to find a solution, both sides need to find some common ground.

"Was the ACA perfect? Absolutely not, but I do think like anything the middle ground is where this should end up. Because of political promises they kind of backed themselves in a corner where they feel like they have to do something as opposed to finding a meaningful improvement to the old plan," said O'Hearn.

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