Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Letter to the Editor: "American Health Care Act" from Jean Young, CEO of Family Health Inc.

I want to thank the Darke Journal for allowing me to share my concern of the health care debate happening in Washington. It’s important that readers understand that even though we live hundreds of miles from the U.S. Capitol, the deliberations under that dome to fix health care will have a direct and immediate impact on many people in our community.

As someone who has worked at a Community Health Center for many years, I am very concerned about the effect the American Health Care Act will have on our patients. Proposals to block grant Medicaid and roll back Ohio’s Medicaid expansion program will put 5,625 Darke County Residents (2,700 children) who visit our health center at risk for losing their insurance protection. Typically when people have no insurance they will utilize the emergency room for non-emergent health issues or delay needed care and require more costly medical interventions as they get sick. Many of the people affected by these proposals are individuals who are employed in the service industry and the elderly who have used their savings to offset their living expenses and now need assistance to pay for their medications and healthcare. Medicaid should not be considered as Welfare but as a safety net for those who “just can’t make ends meet”.

Similarly, proposals to place the most vulnerable and sick patients into underfunded high-risk pools will cause our patients who are most in need of coverage to face the greatest challenge in affording it.

For decades health centers like ours have earned bipartisan support. We provide affordable care to economically challenged and chronically ill people and bring a unique and important perspective to the national conversation on fixing health care. What we have learned from experience is cutting access to both insurance coverage and affordable primary care doesn’t balance the budget – in fact it accomplishes precisely the opposite and we all pay a price.

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