The Coastal Packet: Maine hospitals endangered by repeal of Obamacare

Monday, January 23

Maine hospitals endangered by repeal of Obamacare

Colin Woodard, Portland Press Herald - Love it or hate it, the Affordable Care Act has helped Maine’s hospitals stay solvent, and experts fear its repeal could make it hard for some of them to avoid cutbacks and even closure....

Absent a comparable alternative, an ACA repeal would leave 80,000 Mainers who receive health insurance through its exchange without coverage. Some would presumably find alternate coverage, but tens of thousands would not be able to afford it, meaning big losses for Maine’s hospitals and clinics, which are obligated by state law to provide “medically necessary” care to those unable to pay.

“We’re all worried,” says Jeffrey Austin, vice president of government affairs at the Maine Hospital Association, who estimates that the state’s hospitals receive $200 million a year from ACA-subsidized insurance policies. “The average operating margins in Maine hospitals are about 1 percent. There just isn’t room for dramatic negative impacts.”

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