HOT BLAST: Without state help for Obamacare, Texas hospitals consider alternatives
Oct 07, 2013 | 1446 views |  0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A counselor uses a tablet last week to show various health plans available at an information table at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles as people seek information on state-provided health insurance   (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
A counselor uses a tablet last week to show various health plans available at an information table at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles as people seek information on state-provided health insurance (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
slideshow
Writing in the Dallas Morning News, columnist Mitchell Schnurman explores the plight of public hospital administrators doing what they can to get the uninsured coverage. There's a problem for states that have not expanded Medicaid; Schnurman reports, "A single mom with two children earning $20,000 can go to the exchange and get subsidies to cover almost all the cost of insurance. But if she earns $18,000, she’s out of luck."

One proposed solution at a Texas hospital is for a hospital to help those who fall between the cracks pay for coverage on the exchange. 

Hospitals lose tens of millions of dollars annually treating patients who don't have health insurance. (In 2014, Regional Medical Center expects to "spend approximately $53 million on charity care — care provided to residents without insurance or any ability to pay," according to a June 17 article in The Star.)

Schnurman spoke with Sharon Phillips, executive vice president of Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, about the effort to encourage the uninsured to find coverage via online marketplaces:

Parkland was eager to help folks sign up, given that about 50,000 uninsured patients may qualify.

The catch is that many other customers will be left out in the cold: About 180,000 earn too little money to get public help, Sharon said.

If that sounds counterintuitive — an income that’s too small for aid — how about Parkland buying health insurance for some of its sickest patients?

Phillips floated that idea last week because buying coverage through the exchange could be cheaper than Parkland’s eating the hospital bill itself. Whether the move would pass muster with regulators and political leaders is unclear, but Phillips said it’s worth exploring.

“We’re trying to determine every way to maximize the law,” she said.

Comments must be made through Facebook
No personal attacks
No name-calling
No offensive language
Comments must stay on topic
No infringement of copyrighted material


Friends to Follow



Today's Events

event calendar

post a new event

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Marketplace