The following Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council (DFWHC) press statement was issued today by DFWHC President and Chief Executive Officer W. Stephen Love:
The U.S. Supreme Court has just affirmed the Patient Safety and Affordable Care Act of 2010 with some changes. The government cannot force an individual to buy medical insurance but can penalize an individual with a tax for not purchasing insurance. The federal government can also ask state governments to expand Medicaid with new funding, but cannot withdraw previous funds for not expanding Medicaid. People feel strongly about this issue and argue with partisan political party viewpoints. The hospitals of North Texas treat patients from all political beliefs with a focus on quality treatment and outcomes.
Hospitals across the nation agreed to $155 billion in reimbursement reductions in support of the Patient Safety and Affordable Care Act (approximately $14 billion for Texas). While the law is not perfect, it does focus on prevention, wellness, care coordination and increased coverage for the uninsured. This law will provide coverage for approximately 4.1 million currently uninsured Texans. This is very important since Texas has a 27 percent uninsured population which is the highest in the nation. In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the uninsured percentage is closer to 30 percent. Currently, 1.2 million Texas children have no medical insurance and approximately 40 percent of mothers do not receive appropriate pre-natal care. Many Texans have no primary care providers and receive medical treatment in emergency rooms, which is not the best setting for primary care.
This decision is reminiscent of a 2009 challenge to the 1965 Voting Rights Act where the U.S. Supreme Court voiced concerns about Section 5 of the act and two months later affirmed the law.
Hopefully, the U.S. Supreme Court decision will not begin a blame game or create discussion on winners or losers. If we collaboratively reform the healthcare delivery system to provide the best, cost effective coordinated care for patients in the proper setting with quality outcomes, we are all winners.
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DFWHC is a 75-member organization with more than 40 years of service to the North Texas healthcare community. Governed by a 14-member Board of Trustees made up of hospital executive officers, the hospital trade association is committed to the continuous improvement of patient care.