Trump and Healthcare: what’s next for Ohio’s patients, hospitals and taxpayers

This story originally appeared on www.wfmj.com

Written by: Lindsay McCoy, Reporter

YOUNGSTOWN Ohio

As Republicans take their first steps toward repealing the Affordable Care Act, many across the valley are bracing for the potential ripple effect such a maneuver could mean.

Health systems are among some of the largest employers across Northeast Ohio.

“We’re not talking about the other side of it, which is the cost of the healthcare and how do we do something about that,” Paul Sracic said, professor and chair of the department of politics and international relations at Youngstown State University.

“That’s what’s causing some of this consolidation I think, people trying to reduce costs,” he said.

It’s not known how many jobs the repeal of Obamacare could impact within health systems and businesses that support them, but the topic is already making headlines.

As for patients, about 11 percent of Americans do not have health insurance– down from 16 percent before the law was put into place.

Democrats argue that the Republicans don’t have replacement plan ready to keep some of those individuals from falling through the cracks.

Republican Pennsylvania Congressman Mike Kelly joining WFMJ Weekend Today on Sunday refutes those claims. He calls on democrats to look at a plan called The Better Way.

“At the end of the day, it puts the people in charge of their coverage, not the government,” Kelly said.

The Better Way calls for opening up state exchanges for insurance providers to offer plans across state lines and an end to some mandates Kelly said.

Robert Gearhart of the DCW Group, says Increasing competition between insurers to let them sell plans across state lines works in theory, but it becomes far more complex when the idea is put into action.

“The increased administrative burden of the ACA has caused carriers to reduce the number of plans offered and narrow their networks as a measure of controlling cost,” Gearhart said.

“Even if carriers were to offer the same number of plans across state lines they would be negotiating with new providers for discounts on services and filing for approval with more State Departments of Insurance, not less,” he said.

Some states also question how the country will pay for those who will still need the government’s support.

About 700,000 Ohioans gained coverage through Medicaid expansion under Obamacare.

“We have to pay for it as taxpayers, and so if the federal government is not giving us subsidies in order to do that, then long term, and they are right now, but long term the state will have to bear the brunt of paying for those expanded services,” Joe Schiavoni said, (D) Ohio Senate minority leader.

Insurance experts advise those already enrolled in coverage through the exchanges should stick with their plans for now, as rates are expected to change in 2018.

Copyright 2017 WFMJ, Youngstown, Ohio.