Remember how Obamacare was supposed to reduce the burden of so-called “uncompensated care” from uninsured patients that was driving hospitals bankrupt? Well, two years into Obamacare it hasn’t worked out that way:
Hospital operator HCA Holdings Inc on Tuesday said more patients are coming through its doors who have lost their health insurance, most likely because they stopped paying for it.
The largest U.S. for-profit hospital chain said it admitted more uninsured patients in the third quarter who had previously registered with health insurance, compared with a year ago. They included people who bought coverage from marketplaces set up under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, but then dropped it.
“We believe this is likely due to non-payment of premiums,” HCA Chief Financial Officer Bill Rutherford said on the company’s earnings call.
Overall, the company admitted 13.6 percent more uninsured patients in the third quarter. It was the second straight quarterly increase in uninsured admissions, reversing a downward trend since the insurance exchanges opened for business in early 2014
(Susan Kelly, “HCA says some patients dropping their new insurance coverage,” Reuters. October 27, 2015.)
Protecting hospitals’ revenues by increasing the number of insured Americans was never actually a legitimately important goal of health reform, although hospitals are very successful at making that case. Now, it looks like Obamacare doesn’t even do that.