Michiana clinics ready for potential Obamacare repeal

By  | 

In two weeks, Donald Trump becomes president. One of his first proposals in the White House could affect the men and women in white coats.

Dr. James Harris at the South Bend Clinic examines a patient during a clinic visit.

Hospital leaders in Michiana say they’re not looking at a potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act with a "sky is falling" mentality.

But, it'd no doubt be a headache because clinics and hospitals have spent nearly eight years adjusting to the new normal.

One thing they are confident is that they'll continue treating people, even those without coverage.

Demand for health care is constant at the South Bend Clinic. In fact, that's one of the only certainties at the 100 year old walk-in clinic. The clinic has spent nearly a decade adapting to the new laws passed under President Obama.

“I don't think we're going to go back to where we were ten years ago,” South Bend Clinic CEO Paul Meyer said.

Clinic staff have spent nearly eight years getting used to new rules and regulations under the so-called "Obamacare."

“Whether the patient has come to us with insurance or without, we've still accepted them. And frankly, many peoples' circumstances change while they're with us, for better or for worse,” Meyer said.

While unpopular to the majority of voters, the new health care law hasn't all been a beauracratic nightmare.

“We're looking at about $536,000 additional to the hospital,” Woodlawn Hospital CFO Dave Cholger said.

Leaders at Woodlawn in Rochester say a large portion of their revenue comes from Medicare and Medicaid dollars, by referring the previously uninsured away from constant visits to the ER.

“By simply moving folks from bad debt, compassionate care and non-insured, into the marketplace plans,” Cholger said.

Incoming president Donald Trump campaigned on a full repeal of Obamacare, but Indiana health care leaders predict more people who can't afford coverage will look to waivers rather than a handful of ER visits a year.

“Ultimately, it creates better health outcomes. So, rather than being a financial decision, it's more of a health outcome decision,” Claim Aid VP of sales Brad Willkie said.

Low income people in Indiana already likely qualify for what's known as "HIP" or Healthy Indiana Plan.
Those making $16,590 or less and couples who make less than $22,371 combined can receive health, vision and dental.

Prison inmates also benefit from Obamacare. Anyone locked up longer than 30 days has to be offered a chance to sign up for healthcare, the intent is that upon release, someone who's potentially mentally ill isn't sent out without medication.