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Message to Grassley: rural hospitals worried about paying for uninsured under AHCA

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Photo: MGN Online Photo: MGN Online
Senator Chuck Grassley tours RHSHC in Cresco Senator Chuck Grassley tours RHSHC in Cresco
Robin Schulter, CEO of Regional Health Services of Howard County Robin Schulter, CEO of Regional Health Services of Howard County
Senator Chuck Grassley holds health care 'town hall' in Cresco Senator Chuck Grassley holds health care 'town hall' in Cresco
CRESCO, Iowa (KTTC) -

Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa hosted a town hall listening session with hospital administrators and staff Friday morning in Cresco, and got an earful about the health care reform measure that House Republicans are pushing.

More rural hospitals might be forced to close if they're made to eat the cost of care for more people who have no health insurance.  That's the message Senator Grassley got from the top administrator at the hospital he was visiting.

At the “town hall” he met with the hospital’s physicians and administrators to discuss their health care concerns following the release last week of the House Republicans' "American Health Care Act," a replacement for Obamacare being championed by President Trump.

The proposal has faced tough scrutiny from both parties after an analysis by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that 24 million people are at risk of losing coverage under the bill.

That was one of the concerns expressed at the town hall since it might put hospitals at risk of footing the bill of patients who don't have coverage.

"Putting that burden of uninsured onto those institutions can result in greater closures of rural hospitals across the country," said Robin Schulter, the CEO of Regional Health Services of Howard County. "One thing I think the bill needs to address is who is going to be responsible in paying healthcare for those that can't pay themselves.”

Senator Grassley said he feels it's important that people shouldn't be forced to buy health care they don't want.  He said under the AHCA, tax credits would be given for people who want it, but can't afford it, and they would have more choices.

“People that are low income will have tax credits to purchase health insurance," said Grassley.  "But they're limited now to what the government says they need to buy under 4 plans.”

Obamacare was largely funded by an increase in taxes on those with higher income. Since President Trump plans to decrease those taxes a big question is how the ACHA will be funded.  Grassley said that these credits will in part be paid by savings made from changes in the bill.

After his stop at Cresco he was to meet with Luther College students in Decorah.

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