Posted on: April 8, 2013
Without Coverage, Access to Quality Healthcare is Extremely Limited
By Joel Seligman, President & CEO, Northern Westchester Hospital
The new Insurance Exchanges that go live January 1, 2014 are critical to achieving the most important benefit of the Affordable Care Act. They are the vehicle to extend health coverage to many millions of uninsured Americans, small businesses and others for whom good health insurance remains a dream. Make no mistake about the importance of being insured – without coverage one’s access to quality healthcare – especially specialty care is extremely limited. At any point during the year as many as 70 million Americans find themselves in this potentially desperate situation.
It follows that this must be good for our neighbors and good for our communities. By standardizing health plans, eliminating restrictions on pre-existing conditions and providing subsidies and incentives, the Federal Government is enabling millions of uninsured Americans to find coverage that they can afford.
Isn’t this also a good thing for hospitals and physicians?
With a greater number of patients having coverage, won’t doctors and hospitals be in a better financial position? Not necessarily. Depending on how this plays out, the Insurance Exchanges could lead to the downfall of many hospitals, especially those serving the poor, because those hospitals are the most vulnerable economically and politically.