ODESSA, TX (KWES) - CEO Bill Webster of Medical Center Hospital is retiring after working in the medical field for than 40 years. He said during his time as CEO, he's seen healthcare get better but there are still several funding challenges that lie ahead.
"Healthcare is consuming a bigger part of the U.S. economy," said Webster. "It's expensive but in many ways, there's parts of the healthcare system that are really underfunded. There seems to be a lack of focus really both at the state and federal level on the rational healthcare policy and funding mechanism for hospitals and health systems and physicians."
Medical Center Hospital has faced cuts in Medicare rates in the past but because Texas was one of the states that chose not to expand Medicaid, Webster says local hospitals might not see any change.
"Texas hospitals never benefited much," he said. "In fact, during the last 8 years, we've had a lot of cuts, but none of the benefit that some other states enjoyed so it's been a tough road and it looks like it's not going to get any easier here."
Webster hopes that whatever lawmakers plan for, there should be more focus on healthcare funding with a more rational and long-term approach.
"The indigent care load we have here in Texas is significant, but nearly 25% of Texans are uninsured. It's somewhere between 25-30% in the greater Odessa area. That's a big load to carry with really insufficient funding," said Webster.
Insurance companies that use Obamacare must sign contracts with the federal government by Sept. 27 on what insurance plans they want to sell on the federal exchange next year.