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LibbyMt.com > News > April 2010 > Healthcare Reform

Healthcare Reform
by Bill Patten, CEO, St. Johnís Lutheran Hospital
April 10, 2010

The number of questions about how healthcare reform will affect individuals we are receiving at St. Johnís have gone up since the President signed the first healthcare reform bill. As I have pondered how best to provide information, I have become acutely aware that my well-intentioned comments may be seen as partisan.

Understandably, I have strong feelings about this legislation, both as it will affect me and my family, but also how it will affect the hospital I lead. I have researched options/resources I might share, and again found that many sources have a particular slant or bias.

So instead of going into great detail about all the what-ifs and wherefores, I offer this brief summary of the bill recently passed legislation. To start with, there are two main parts of the reconciliation bill: one that "fixes" parts of the reform package that already is law and another that deals with student loans.

The reconciliation bill phases out over a 10-year period the coverage gap under the Medicare Part D drug program (the "donut hole"), it changes how Medicare Advantage plans are paid (the cuts to the Advantage plans account for a large portion of the projected savings), it refigures hospital market basket reductions, and moves up to 2014 the date reductions in disproportionate-share hospital payments start. While short on details, the bill also hopes to reduce healthcare fraud and abuse, especially within Medicare and Medicaid.

The reconciliation bill delays the implementation of a 40% excise tax on high-cost insurance plans until 2018, it adds a new Medicare tax on investment income (although, interestingly enough, the tax will not be used to fund the Medicare program), and it generally bars insurers from dropping coverage after a person becomes sick.

Again, in an effort to not take sides, I offer the following websites that provide a fairly good summary/perspective on many aspects of this issue. Enjoy!



Related Links
  • www.SJLH.com - St. Johnís Lutheran Hospital
  • What does the health care bill mean to me? - The Washington Post
  • Kaiser Family Foundation
  • The Color of Money: 4 scenarios in the new health-care law - By Michelle Singletar, Washington Post, March 28, 2010
  • Health Care Reform Bill Summary: A Look At What's in the Bill - CBSNews.com
  • New Healthcare Reform Bill Summary 2010, Facts and Timeline of Health Care Reform Changes - CNM News Network
  • Health Care For All Leaves 23 Million Uninsured - National Public Radio
  • The Cost of Health Care Reform: Upper Income Taxpayers Bear the Brunt - The Fiscal Times
  • Doctors Offer Thoughts on Cutting Health Care Costs - By Lesley Alderman, March 20, 2010, The New York Times

  • The Fiscal Times
  • Start the search for a doctor before the stampede - By Lauran Neergaard, March 28, 2010
  • Angry Doctor Rump Group Lashes Out at Health Care Legislation - The Fiscal Times
  • www.HealthrReform.gov/
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