There isn’t an individual who doesn’t remember when the Affordable Health Care Act aka Obamacare was passed and then rolled out. But, how many remember the numerous warnings and predictions of unintended consequences that many researchers, analysts, and writers tried to convey to the people only to be labeled “conspiracy theorists” and accused of “wanting to deny healthcare to people who needed healthcare insurance”? This writer was labeled a conspiracy theorist as well as being accused of not wanting people to receive health care.
Unfortunately, what researchers, analysts, and writers warned about is coming to pass. In the last 20 years, more than 200 rural hospital facilities have been closed, with 149 closures happening since 2010, leaving communities without any local access to hospital facilities. Some rural residents have to travel over an hour to reach a hospital facility. This means certain death in some instances.
In The Epoch Times documentary, “Flatline: America’s Hospital Crisis”, Steve Gruber reports that another 600 rural hospitals, nearly 30% nationwide, are in financial crisis and at-risk of closure. Be sure and watch this documentary first before investigating the website links provided. To see the number of at-risk closures by state, you can visit beckershospitalreview.com. The website ruralhospitals.chqpr.org/index.html shows rural hospitals by State and their “at risk” status including those that have already closed. The number of hospitals that have a “negative total margin” or “loss on patient services” is astounding. The Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at UNC provides an interactive tool to view these closures.
Before Obamacare was passed and implemented, 43 rural hospitals closed from 2005 -2010; 5 closed in 2011; and, 9 closed in 2012. However, after Obamacare, the closures of rural hospitals reached double digits consistently until 2021. In 2021 and 2022, 3 and 6 rural hospitals closed respectively. Already in 2023, 9 rural hospital facilities have shut their doors.
The documentary covers some of the issues of why rural hospitals are closing – one being the shift from 67% of consumers relying on “commercial” insurance (insurance through employers) to 49% of consumers receiving health care insurance through their employers. This means that 51% of consumers have some form of government insurance or the inability to pay. How some hospitals have stayed afloat was charging commercial carriers 200% to over 1200% of the cost of services, meaning those companies paid for the shortfall aka the consumer paid through higher premiums, co-pays and deductibles. Moreover, government reimbursement for health care services are way below the actual costs. As the documentary indicated, one state Medicaid plan only paid $15 for an emergency room visit, which did not even cover one hour of pay for an emergency room nurse.
What was touted as “providing ‘access to health care’” through Obamacare actually had the opposite effect. But, it is more than just Obamacare. After watching the documentary, you will discover this has been a crisis in the making for quite some time. It was the passage and implementation of Obamacare that led many of us to see the dangers to smaller rural hospital facilities and warn about their risk of closure or ceasing certain necessary services.
It isn’t just rural hospitals that are at-risk, but Emergency Medical Services (ambulance) and paramedic services as well. While many cheered at the “death of Obamacare” when the individual mandate was rescinded, the unconstitutional law that affects health care in the united States remains in effect. Again, the warning went out that rescinding the individual mandate did not nullify the law.
Interestingly enough, more urban hospital facilities are not in crisis. Coincidence or not? Being that the United Nations is pushing for everyone to “relocate” to urban areas and leave the rural communities, it doesn’t seem coincidental at all, but a well-implemented plan. And, it started before Obamacare but ramped up exponentially afterward. Add into the mix the CONvid 1984 planned scam-demic and one doesn’t have to look very hard to see what could be coming down the road.
Local and community hospital facilities are key to the economic survival of a community/town. Without these facilities, the community/town is unattractive to companies that provide jobs. As one of the largest employers in a community/town through direct employment and contracting, hospitals provide great economic stability. Without these facilities, other businesses often close as the documentary indicates. Even with rural hospital facilities being bought by larger entities, in hopes of saving them, the facilities still close and others remain at-risk. Closure of more facilities leaves individuals in communities without local emergency facilities, which can mean life or death to someone in a motor vehicle accident, fire, disease, or acute illness.
While many in the united States have taken for granted the local community hospitals, especially in more rural areas, it is time to start thinking about the status of hospital facilities and emergency medical services availability or many of us could find ourselves in the same situation as residents of Kennett, Missouri.
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