Proving that Obamacare is good for business and good for the economy, hospitals have seen a major drop in the number of uninsured patients they’ve treated.
HCA Holdings Inc. (HCA), the largest for-profit hospital chain, yesterday raised its forecast and reported a 6.6 percent drop in uninsured patients at its 165 hospitals, a reduction that grows to 48 percent in four states that expanded Medicaid, a top initiative of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. WellPoint Inc. (WLP), which made the biggest commitment of any publicly traded insurer to the Obamacare markets, raised its guidance today after handily beating analyst estimates for the quarter on rising membership linked to the overhaul.
When discussing Medicaid expansion the primary concern is the welfare of residents who do not have access to healthcare because their governor or state legislature has refused to expand Medicaid, but it’s also worth pointing out that billions of dollars in federal funding is also being denied to businesses inside states that have refused.
From medical equipment vendors, to pharmacies and doctors, refusing to expand Medicaid means they’re being denied business and — gasp — jobs. That’s business and jobs that won’t cost the state a single dime for first several years as the federal government covers 100 percent of the cost until 2016. The federal government will still cover up to 95 percent of the cost for the foreseeable future.
There was a time when Republican governors and legislatures refused to expand Medicaid because they were uncertain if Obamacare would be repealed or not. but I think it’s safe to say repeal is no more than a conservative pipe dream at this point.