Lubbock, TX (KCBD) – It's clear that the bill President Obama signed into law Tuesday will change healthcare, but what's not clear is how. Local medical centers say the new law doesn't address some of the forces driving up the cost of healthcare.
There are mixed views on what the healthcare reform bill will do to the health sector. Some local administrators say the bill focuses more on health insurance reform, than health care reform which would include. University Medical Center Vice President Greg Bruce says people with insurance are already covering the some of the tab for those without it.
"The new legislation is going to be putting providers such as us to be able to provide better care," says Covenant CFO John Grigson who expects the new law to shift costs which he says would level the playing field for patients. "The people that come that don't have health insurance, really the people who do have insurance are paying for that care," Grigson said.
"Obviously if there is more insured our costs for providing un-compensated care will be less, but we don't know when we will see additional folks insured," Bruce said.
Lubbock Heart Hospital CEO John McGreevy believes cost will go up. "What we know is if you have insurance you use it. So we will literally see the healthcare system be taxed by 32 million Americans going out to use it which will drive up costs," said McGreevy.
As part of the $938 billion bill, Government payments to hospitals will be scaled back, and that money will go toward paying for health insurance which is a concern for Bruce. "How quickly that change will happen and what sort of gap we may have after the plan is fully implemented," Bruce said.
McGreevy estimates 50 percent of the Heart Hospitals patients have problems related to life style habits. Habits local executives say the new law fails to address which ultimately drives cost of care up.
"In and of itself that's the only direction we can get to this bend the cost curve we as health care consumers need to be healthier with our lifestyle to where we are not constantly going to the hospital to get fixed," McGreevy said.
For hospitals across the country, lowering costs while providing quality care will continue to be a primary goal.
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