MACOMB — The McDonough District Hospital is making preparations for what CEO Kenny Boyd described as the “changing healthcare landscape” due in large part to the probable repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), often referred to as “ObamaCare.”
Boyd said he is working with the Illinois Health and Hospital Association (IHA) to help develop advocacy efforts for the upcoming change in the presidency and likely repeal or gutting of the ACA.
“…As the (U.S.) Senate moves forward, through the budget reconciliation process, beginning the repeal process of the Affordable Care Act, there’s a lot of conversation at the state and national levels through the associations. What does that look like? … A lot of conversations with our federally-elected officials about the need to ensure that there’s a replacement process in place for some of that, because there’s been a lot of time, energy, effort and money put into moving the industry toward some of those things,” he said. “Whether we agree with everything or not, (you) can’t just yank the rug out from underneath, because there will be some issues."
A 51 to 48 vote that set the stage for gutting the ACA was cast in the U.S. Senate just before 1:30 a.m. last Thursday morning, during a lengthy back-to-back roll call voting session, with votes divided sharply along party lines. On Jan. 13, the House of Representatives voted 227-198 to draft legislation by Jan. 27 that would repeal the ACA.
Boyd said he is communicating with Darin LaHood, Republican representative for the 18th District, about what healthcare providers need from lawmakers before they make the decision to repeal without an alternative in place. Impacts to people covered by the Medicaid expansion and to healthcare organizations who have built infrastructure to accommodate the ACA top the list of concerns.
“More specifically, in the ACA, the American Hospital Association had agreed to cuts to cover the Medicaid expansion. So if they do away with the Medicaid expansion and don’t do something with those cuts, then we’re getting hit two times,” he said, “which would be problematic. Not just for us, but for hospitals across the country because we’re kind of taking from the right hand and giving to the left hand so the ‘pot’ was staying about the same, but you were covering your people. Hence people were accessing healthcare earlier…(instead of) waiting until catastrophic events to show up in the emergency room.”
He went on to say that a goal of the ACA was to avoid the costly expenses of late-stage illness or disease by getting people in earlier to see a primary care physician for lower-cost preventive care and health maintenance.
“How do we balance that piece out? There’s a lot of conversations and really nobody knows what’s going on,” he said.

Reach Michelle Langhout via email at mlanghout@McDonoughVoice.com or follow her on Twitter @mlanghout1.