MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT) -- According to an in-state trade group Tennessee hospitals have started laying off employees and reducing services as a result of the political struggle over the Affordable Care Act, more commonly referred to as Obamacare.
Tennessee Hospital Association President Craig Becker says that under the new health care law some federal funds that once flowed to hospitals were cut off. The law’s authors intended for those lost dollars to be replaced by an expansion of Medicaid.
But along with a number of other states, Tennessee chose to opt out of the Medicaid expansion, fearing that the federal government would eventually pass new and unsustainable health care costs on to the states.
Becker says that with the old federal programs drying up, and no new Medicaid dollars coming in, Tennessee hospitals are having trouble caring for the state’s poorest patients.
“It’s roughly two to three-hundred-thousand additional Tennesseans, who tend to be below the 100 percent poverty line. These are the poorest of the poor and they tend to be the sickest of the sick. To not have coverage for them really does make a major impact on our hospitals.”
Becker characterizes the evolving impasse as “dangerous.” He believes the states rural and indigent care hospitals are most at risk and that some may eventually close.
Becker says his associated hospitals will continue to press the governor and the state legislature to approve the Medicaid expansion.