TN hospital closures under Obamacare detrimental

Americans have sent a clear message on Obamacare, in the form of a new Republican majority in Congress, and they are demanding immediate repudiation and repeal of the president’s policies. From its adoption, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has sent a devastating blow throughout the healthcare industry. In only a few short years, especially in rural America, the law has forced dozens of hospitals to shut their doors, drastically reducing access to care for millions of Americans– the exact opposite of what Americans were told the law would do. Not to mention, contrary to its namesake, the law has driven costs to incalculable figures, which are anything but affordable.

Due to Obamacare, insurance premiums have skyrocketed upward of 60 percent for many Tennesseans. Furthermore, the number of hospital closures under Obamacare is simply detrimental. The state has lost three since January alone.

In total, 43 hospitals have shut their doors, and hospital administrators are blaming Obamacare. In 2010, shortly after the law went into effect, three hospitals slammed their doors shut. In 2013, thirteen more had closed. This year, twelve have closed so far. Each closure has occurred in rural America. These rural hospitals are responsible for treating our country’s most vulnerable patients. Now, millions have been denied reasonable access to even the most basic care and are being forced to travel 30-100 miles in order to receive it.

Rural hospitals rely heavily on government funds to keep their doors open, which has caused Obamacare proponents to cite the refusal of certain states to expand Medicaid under the law as the catalyst for closures, but that’s the actual root cause. Fifteen of the closures have occurred in nine states that did expand Medicaid under the healthcare law. The truth is, under Obamacare, regardless of whether or not their respective state expanded Medicaid, healthcare providers are being reimbursed less by the government and those payments are taking twice as long to process. In Colorado, another state that expanded Medicaid under Obamacare, the Colorado Hospital Association chairwoman has recently indicated that a handful of hospitals are now on the watch-list for closure.

Similar closures will only continue to occur. This, of course, is all by design. Health and Human Services, the federal bureaucracy in charge of implementing Obmacare, is already pushing to close more rural hospitals due to the communities they serve not being densely populated enough.

When a patient suffers from a heart attack, doctors have a small window of opportunity to provide life-saving treatment. One farmer by the name of Bill Jones died while traveling more than 2x the distance from where the family’s hospital was pre-Obamacare. Jones’ original hospital, only nine miles away from his house, was forced to close because it could not afford the law’s electronic records mandate. Because of Obamacare, sick, rural Americans are literally dying from being forced to travel upwards of 100 miles just to receive care in emergency situations.

Beneficence and non-maleficence are two central ethical paradigms medical providers are trained and sworn to uphold. Physicians take the Hippocratic Oath to do no harm very seriously, and are now being forced by federal bureaucrats that have never stepped foot inside a hospital to break that oath. How many patients will we allow to die in the name of “progress”? With ischemic hope and bated breath, Americans are now looking to a new Republican majority in Congress to restore order and answer that question.

Follow Dr. Omar Hamada on Facebook & Twitter.