Thomas Oatway: House-approved insurance would imperil hospitals

Protestors file into Congressman Steve Knight's Santa Clarita offices on Feb. 23 to protest what they called "Trump care" with the United Here organization. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

With the slim margin of victory provided by our own U.S. Rep. Steve Knight, R-Palmdle, the House passed a GOP health care bill (AHCA) that essentially provides health care insurance coverage to those fortunate enough to be able to afford it.

It also provides a bonus 30 percent premium increase to be paid to insurance companies for those who have a lapse in their coverage or need new coverage.

This replaced the oft-criticized individual mandate with a bonus payout to insurers. Those with pre-existing conditions, which includes most of us (by the insurance industry definition), will be priced out of the market.

Smaller businesses, now struggling to provided ACA-mandated coverage to employees, will be shedding their insurance coverage as premiums rise uncontrollably. Many current Medicaid recipients will be left with no health insurance and will be forced to use ERs for their needs.

Hospitals will be financially imperiled by uninsured patient coverage, just like before Obamacare. The 1986 Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act mandates emergency medical treatment without proof of ability to pay.

If the GOP plan is going to be consistent with the policy that only those who can afford health care should receive treatment, the GOP bill should have added a waiver to the 1986 Emergency Medical Treatment Act which protects hospitals from the mandate to treat the uninsured.

This sounds severe but is consistent with the basic philosophy of the Knight/Trump/Ryan health care policy.

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