Last week, NCPR launched a series of in-depth conversations with local medical professionals and experts, the people who will shape how our hospitals, nursing homes and first responder services look over the next couple of decades.
Our first conversation was with Dr. John Rugge, founder of the Hudson Headwaters Health Network, who talked about the implementation of Obamacare this way:
This is the necessary starting point. I mean the fundamental decisions were: we’re not going to have universal healthcare, we’re not going to have government run healthcare, we’re not going to have a single payer.
We are going to build on the system we have, which means federal-based care. Lots of different insurance companies, lots of experimentation at the state level, with lots of authority at the local level, in terms of how it’s to take place.
We need to learn from the best results and adapt to them.
Again, reminded that the same kind of political attacks were made on social security and on Medicare when they were first implemented—this can’t work, this is going to be a bad law, we can’t afford it.
They too had to be adapted and eventually became part of our life.
There are growing indications that we’re on the road to this reality.
For all the sound and fury that still unfolds in Congress, Obamacare is the defining law shaping medical care for a growing number of Americans — indeed, the majority of Americans.
Even a growing number of Republican and conservative governors are buying in, from Florida to North Dakota. This from the coverage of the debate in Arizona from Forbes back in January.
Earlier this week, [Arizona Governor Jan] Brewer recommended that Arizona go along with Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.
Previously, parents and childless adults in Arizona were eligible for Medicaid if their income was below 100 percent of the federal poverty level.
Gov. Brewer’s expansion would expand Medicaid eligibility to adults with income between 100 and 133 percent of FPL, and take additional federal money to fund Medicaid for childless adults below the poverty line.
“By slightly expanding eligibility for Arizona’s Medicaid program,” said Brewer in a statement, “Arizona will receive $7.9 billion in federal funds over four years…This money will not only insure hundreds of thousands of low-income Arizonans, it will be an economic boon and help maintain the viability of rural and safety-net hospitals feeling the pinch from growing costs of uncompensated care.”
Brewer has since clashed with members of her own party as she works to force Arizona’s legislature to adopt Obamacare.
Meanwhile, a new poll from CNN finds that 43% of Americans support the new law, while another 16% say it’s not liberal enough.
That means a whopping 59% of people think Obamacare is the right approach — or want even more government involvement in healthcare.
What’s clear from all sources is that the law will have to be tweaked over time. But as histrionics about death panels and socialism fades away, it will be easier for thoughtful reformers, on the right and the left, to step forward.
So what do you think? Is Obamacare working for you and your family? Do you think fears about the program are still justified? Do you think the program can or should be repealed at this stage?