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Wednesday, 28 June 2017 16:55

American Health Care Act will negatively affect this community

Written by 

By Rod Harkelroad and Maurice Phillips

Our country’s healthcare system is in the midst of a massive upheaval. Never before have we witnessed such challenges that will impact both the type of care our community receives and the ability of our local hospital to continue providing the high-quality care that we know each of you have come to expect from our physicians, nurses and staff. 

 As you may be aware, politicians in Washington, D.C., are considering a healthcare reform bill called the American Health Care Act (AHCA). This bill seeks to completely transform how we deliver care to you, but unfortunately, as it is currently being considered, not for the better. If passed in its current form, our local economy, as well as that of our state and country, will suffer. And our hospital, a bedrock of our community, will see severe negative effects. 

Specifically, the House AHCA, as it stands, will have catastrophic effects on families, children, elderly and disabled individuals who depend on our hospital for care. It is projected to leave 23 million Americans without access to affordable healthcare coverage — many of whom live right here in Western North Carolina. Without coverage, many of these community members will be left without access to the healthcare services they need to live healthy and productive lives. 

The bill could also mean significant jobs lost in both our hospital and community. Total job losses across the country could total nearly one million, with 41,000 in our state alone. And these effects will undoubtedly ripple into our community. The overall impact of the AHCA on our local economy would be devastating and felt for many years to come. 

Our hope is that the U.S. Senate, which is currently considering this bill, will find a bipartisan solution that will have long-term durability so our patients have continued access to affordable care and our community can thrive. 

 We encourage every member of our community to contact our U.S. senators and let them know the importance healthcare access and coverage has for you, your family and our community. Tell them that you deserve access to quality and affordable healthcare and that this bill, including Medicaid cuts currently under consideration, could have a detrimental impact on you and your community for many years to come. 

 Healthcare should be protected, and it is up to us to make sure that it is. 

(Rod Harkleroad is CEO of Haywood Regional Medical Center and Maurice Phillips is HRMC’s board chairman)

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